Wiggins eyes time-trial triumph
Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins is aiming for glory in the Road World Championships time-trial in Italy on Wednesday.
After completing victory in the Tour of Britain on Sunday in a result secured by a devastating time-trial display, the 33-year-old Londoner will on Wednesday ride for the rainbow jersey of world champion in the 58-kilometre course through Tuscany.
Six times a world champion on the track - in events from the 4km individual pursuit and team pursuit to the Madison - Wiggins is bidding for his maiden road world title at the end of a year which has featured numerous disappointments.
To triumph Wiggins, who became Britain's first Tour de France champion and Olympic time-trial champion within 10 days in 2012, must finish ahead of one of the most competitive fields assembled for the race of truth - the rider against the clock.
Two-time defending champion Tony Martin of Germany, four-time world champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and the United States' Taylor Phinney are expected to be Wiggins' main challengers.
Briton Alex Dowsett, a time-trial stage winner at May's Giro d'Italia, is also capable of a high placing.
Cancellara is also targeting Sunday's road race, in which Wiggins will support 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome's bid for glory, despite the two Britons enduring a fractious relationship.
After abandoning May's Giro d'Italia through illness and missing the defence of his Tour de France title through injury as Froome won, Wiggins' desire has returned.
"(The Tour of Britain) has been the first time since the Olympics that I've been hungry to a point where I've put everything on the line," Wiggins said recently.
"It's nice to be back feeling hungry about racing again instead of just going through the motions."
Wiggins compared the dual challenge of the Tour of Britain and World Championships to his Tour de France and Olympics double last year.
While not at quite the same level of prestige as the yellow jersey, winning the Tour of Britain's gold jersey has provided a further lift in morale.
British Cycling performance director Sir Dave Brailsford told Press Association Sport: "This is a home tour, in front of home crowds, he's very, very liked in this country.
"To win the Tour of Britain in London is a huge boost to him, great for the team and sets him up for the worlds.
"It's going to be tough. Tony and Fabian are obviously in great shape, Taylor Phinney too.
"You'd have to say the winner is going to come out of those three and Bradley and actually I think it's going to be on the day who delivers.
"It will be down to who gets the best ride out on the day. But he's certainly in good shape."
The route in Tuscany is far removed from 16km through Knowsley Safari Park which saw Wiggins take the Tour of Britain lead and an advantage he defended until the conclusion in London.
But it provided an indication of Wiggins' form and re-found focus.
"Brad has shown he is definitely the favourite for the World Championship," said Dowsett, following the Knowsley ride.