Former team chief says this Tour too hard for Wiggins

Paris: Bradley Wiggins is at a loss to explain his Tour de France misfortunes but his former team chief believes this year`s race is simply too hard for the Briton who finished fourth in 2009.

Garmin Transitions manager Jonathan Vaughters, the man who last year helped Wiggins match the best finish by a Briton on the Tour, told Reuters the 2010 course did not favour his former rider.

"This Tour, the course has just been so hard and it`s been so hot. Last year`s Tour was very suited to him, he approached it with a relaxed attitude," Vaughters said.

"This year, he had intense pressure from the media, from himself, he had a lot of expectations in a Tour that did not have a lot to offer."

Wiggins is 21st overall, 17 minutes and 44 seconds behind leader and defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain.

"Last year I was not expecting to be even close to the podium at the Tour de France. And there I was at this time last year battling for a spot on the podium," Wiggins told journalists.

"This year we did everything to try and do that, and it hasn`t worked," he added.

The twice individual pursuit Olympic champion left Garmin at the end of last season to join the new Team Sky and reunite with the staff who made him so successful on the track.

"I just did a lot more specific training for the Tour this year -- perhaps a bit too much in hindsight. But you don`t know until you get there," Wiggins said.

"We`ll be back next year with a different program, and try again." he added.

Vaughters said the change of team had not affected Wiggins` performance.

"Sky have done a great job of supporting him. They did not do anything wrong. I don`t see any great problem with Brad."

"You go to another year, to a traditional Tour with two long time trials and fewer mountains and Brad can do a great Tour," he said.

Team Sky was launched last year by British Cycling director Dave Brailsford with the specific goal of helping a British rider win the Tour within five years.

However Vaughters thought the methods that worked well on the track were not necessarily transferable to the road.

"This is the first year that Sky has done the Tour and the learning curve is very high when you come on that race," he said.

On the track, you can cut down the X factor maybe to one or two percent. On this race you can cut it down to maybe 25 percent.

"Yet their approach might be successful in the long term", he added.

Bureau Report

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