Wiggins’ path to Paris-Roubaix and Sky swansong outlined, Quintana also for cobbles

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Set to move to the new Wiggins team after riding Paris-Roubaix, Bradley Wiggins’ final Team Sky racing programme has been outlined and will see the Briton get things underway later this month.

According to the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper, the Briton will begin racing in the Challenge Mallorca races. The first of those is on January 29 and the racing continues until February 1.

Riders can dip in and out as they choose, with only those riding every day being considered for the overall.

Wiggins is then expected to ride the Tour of Qatar, after which he will compete in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne en route to Paris-Roubaix.

“For Britain, this is simply – after the Tour – the most famous race, Wiggins’ directeur sportif Servais Knaven said. He himself won the race in 2001, attacking from a lead group containing team-mates Johan Museeuw and Romans Vainsteins and soloing in to victory. “He’d prefer [to win on] the cobbles rather than overall victory in the Giro.”

Last week Sky announced that Wiggins would extend with the team, but only until after Paris-Roubaix. He will then move to a new Continental team which will primarily focus on track racing. It will be entitled Team Wiggins and will represent a major part of his build-up for the Rio Olympics.

Wiggins made clear that the cobbles were however a major target before then.

“Paris-Roubaix is a special race for me and I’m determined to give it another go in Team Sky colours,” he stated. “It’s one of the toughest races in the calendar and my aim is to improve on my ninth-place finish last year. After that I can focus fully on preparing for the Rio Olympics in 2016.”

Meanwhile Het Nieuwsblad also reports that Movistar’s Nairo Quintana will also include cobblestones in his spring programme. The Colombian is very much a climber rather than a Classics rider but, aware that the Tour de France will include cobblestones on this year’s fifth stage, he intends building experience on the pavé.

Quintana’s season will begin in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. He will then do Tirreno-Adriatico, and will race on the cobbles in the Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 events.

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