Sir Bradley Wiggins makes quiet return and reveals pain of Tour


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The Independent Online

Sir Bradley Wiggins has spoken for the first time about his Team Sky rival Chris Froome winning the Tour de France title that he was unable to defend – and he revealed that it was so painful he could not bring himself to watch it on television.

Wiggins was forced to miss the 100th Tour through injury, and Froome won to make it two wins in two years for Britain.

"I didn't watch. I couldn't watch," said Wiggins. "I would have loved to have been there so it was hard to watch. I focused on the positives rather than sitting watching telly depressed.

"I watched the end of the first stage when I heard the bus knocked the finish down, but otherwise I just followed what the guys did from afar."

Wiggins has been criticised for reportedly not congratulating Froome on his victory, but he said today: "Brilliant. It was a great team performance, a great individual performance and they deserved everything they got. Chris's performance was dominant. I've said before he's probably the best climber in the world. I've never been that good a climber. I can climb, but my speciality is the time trial and working back from that. A Tour like this year, Chris is the stronger rider."

After Wiggins's dream of winning the Giro d'Italia earlier this year was ended by illness, he made a low-key comeback today, finishing more than nine minutes behind the leading group in the first stage of the Tour of Poland.

Wiggins, 33, confirmed he will not be riding the Vuelta a Espana, putting his focus now on the World Championships in September, where he wants to add the time- trial crown to the Olympic title he won 12 months ago in London.

The first stage of the Tour of Poland, a 184.5km ride through the Dolomites between Rovereto and Madonna Di Campiglio, was won by the Italian Diego Ulissi, who held off Darwin Atapuma and Rafal Majka in a sprint finish.

Wiggins finished alongside fellow Team Sky rider Ben Swift and Giro winner Vincent Nibali, nine minutes and 13 seconds back.