Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Mountain to Climb. ; Tour Winner Wiggins Faces Daunting Defence Briton Might Not Even Be TeamSky's No.1 Rider

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Mountain to Climb. ; Tour Winner Wiggins Faces Daunting Defence Briton Might Not Even Be TeamSky's No.1 Rider

Article excerpt

BRADLEY Wiggins now knows he's going to find it significantly more difficult to retain the Tour de France title than win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. The Eccleston-based cycling superstar has been dealt a severe blow in his efforts to retain the yellow jersey as the 2013 route will be much more mountainous, while his favourite discipline of time trialling has been cut from 100km to just 65km.

Wiggins made history becoming the first Brit to win the tour with this summer's race suited to his time-trial prowess.

But next year's event, which starts for the first time in Corsica, is more mountainous which will not favour the Manchester Velodrome-trained ace. It willinstead favour the likes of Alberto Contador, who missed the last Tour as he was serving a two-year drugs ban, and Andy Schleck.

Despite the success of Team GB at the London Olympics, Andy Murray's US Open win and the fact cycling has been tarnished by the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, Wiggins remains the bookies' favourite to win the prestigious BBC honour.

Wiggins - now a style icon with his unique Mod look - revealed to M.E.N. Sport that he'd be a reluctant winner. At the Man of Steel RL awards dinner earlier this month, he said: "Honestly I don't like all the fuss but it comes with the territory."

Next year's Tour - the first since American Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles - will end on the Champs Elysees at night, organisers confirmed.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme revealed a 3,360km, 21-stage route, which takes place entirely in France, beginning on Corsica on June 21 and finishing under floodlights in Paris on July 21.

The decisive blows in the battle for the yellow jersey in 2013 could come on the 18th stage, which features, for the first time, two ascents of the 21-turn Alped'Huez in a race which incorporates all the fabled climbs. …

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