Wiggins chases Italian glory
Bradley Wiggins is more motivated than ever to add to his Tour de France title by winning the Tour of Italy, according to mentor Shane Sutton.
The 32-year-old, who became the Tour's first British winner in July and won Olympic gold 10 days later, has now returned to training after he was knocked off his bike on November 8. He will this week train in Majorca to step up preparations for the 2013 season.
Rather than the defence of his Tour title in July's 100th edition of cycling's most fabled race, Wiggins has his eye on May's Giro d'Italia and winning a second of the sport's three Grand Tours.
Wiggins' preference could mean Chris Froome, second in the Tour, could be the Team Sky leader next July.
Sutton, Dave Brailsford's right-hand man at British Cycling and Team Sky, said: "I think he's probably more hungry now because the challenge is greater.
"He wants to do a great Giro. Off the back of that, he'll have a great Tour anyway.
"He wants legendary status and to win the Giro.''
Team Sky could target victory in all three Tours in a single season, while Wiggins could turn his attentions to the Vuelta a Espana in 2014 if his Giro bid is a success.
Sutton was key in Wiggins' transformation from track thoroughbred in 2008 to Tour winner four years later.
The Londoner is "not in bad shape'', according to Sutton, despite a period of enforced rest with rib and hand injuries sustained when he was knocked off his bike.
Sutton, who himself is recovering from a head injury after coincidentally being knocked off his bike a day after Wiggins' accident, believes the four-time Olympic champion can return to top form in quick time.
"Eight weeks is going to get you pretty close to where you need to be,'' said Sutton, who played down the impact of the additional commitments which come with being a Tour winner.
"You're not working with the same Bradley as 2010 or 2011.
"Two massive seasons; we're dealing with a different animal now.
"We're dealing with someone with a massive amount of reserve. It's the big bank account analogy - you take a little bit out there's still a lot left.
"My plan was always to start training at the end of October.
"We missed a little bit, but we are ready to train. He's lost a few days. It's not like we're behind.''
Brailsford believes, despite setbacks and the internal interviews which followed the Lance Armstrong saga, Team Sky are ahead of schedule in their planning for the 2013 season.
As for Wiggins, Brailsford was concerned about his leading rider after learning of the crash.
"I was worried about Bradley, obviously,'' he said.
"You hear he's been knocked off and he's okay, but he was hit pretty badly and he went right over the car.
"I've never been properly hit by a car, but, from what I gather people say, when you go right over a car it's a lot more scary and makes you think about death. I think it's quite traumatic.
"(It was the) same for Shane. He might laugh and joke, but it makes you think, for sure. It was a shock.''
Nevertheless, there is little anyone can do to guard against further injury.
Brailsford added: "There's an inherent risk. Crashes happen, every time you put your leg over a bike.''