Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Road Back ; as the Tour Starts without Him Bradley Wiggins Is Tipped to Return by Chris Hoy. Trevor Baxter Reports

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Road Back ; as the Tour Starts without Him Bradley Wiggins Is Tipped to Return by Chris Hoy. Trevor Baxter Reports

Article excerpt

SIR Bradley Wiggins' fellow knight rider Sir Chris Hoy has backed his former track buddy to win another Classic road race.

And M.E.N. Sport can also reveal a Wiggins will be riding in the Tour de France this year after all - Brad's Wigan-born wife Kath.

The 100th Tour de France got under way in Corsica today without its defending champion.

But Wiggins is far from finished with cycling even though 2013 has turned out to be his annus horribilis after 2012 brought him Olympic gold and the honour of being Britain's first Tour champion.

Indeed, as his Team Sky team-mates undertake the first of three opening stages on the Mediterranean island - birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte - Wiggins is already back in the saddle.

Forced to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia back in May due to a chest infection and knee injury, the Ecclestonbased dad of two is at the start of a punishing training schedule.

It will build him up for a return to action in the Tour of Poland at the end of July, the Tour of Britain (September 15-22) and ultimately an attack on the world championship time trial title in Italy later in the month.

Wiggins recently suggested he might not have the drive or ambition to try and regain his yellow jersey in future years.

However, six- time Olympic gold medalist Hoy reckons its foolish to write-off 'Wiggo' just yet.

"He can bounce back," said Hoy, whose own Tour ambitions never strayed too far from a seat in front of the television.

Special "People are often quick to dismiss athletes when they have a disappointment or defeat.

"But Bradley is Tour de France champion, he is Olympic champion and he is a pretty special specimen.

"If he wants to, is determined enough and can muster the motivation to go through the whole process again, then there is no reason why he couldn't get back to win the Tour again.

"Having said that, if he decides to hang up his wheels, and there is no indication he would, I don't think anyone would begrudge him that either. What he has achieved in the sport and what he has done for the sport is second to none.

"I take my hat off to him and, fingers crossed, he is back at the top level very soon. …

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