• Cycling

Wiggins slams UCI over Armstrong scandal

ESPN staff
January 22, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »

Bradley Wiggins has hit out at the International Cycling Union and its president Pat McQuaid for their role in the Lance Armstrong scandal that brought the sport into disrepute.

The reigning Tour de France champion, who confirmed that he will be focusing on the Giro d'Italia in 2013, declined the opportunity to pass opinion on Armstrong's confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs for each of his Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005.

"I'm not interested in what happens to Lance," Wiggins said. "My worry is in what state this scandal leaves cycling.

"Where have Pat McQuaid and all the others brought this sport? Certainly not in a great position, especially for the riders racing now. Our credibility is on the line."

Wiggins, the first Briton to win the Yellow Jersey just weeks before landing Olympic time trial gold at London 2012, also confirmed that he would support Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome's bid for the Tour de France victory as he builds his own season around winning his second Grand Tour in Italy.

"The Giro d'Italia is my new challenge, my inspiration, the new fire burning inside me," Wiggins told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I think winning it, for certain aspects, will be more difficult than winning the Tour."

The 2013 Giro route should play to Wiggins' strengths, with three time trials for a total of 57 miles, but the steep Italian climbs will provide the Briton's sternest test in his pursuit of the Pink Jersey.

"It wasn't a sudden choice," Wiggins explained. "After winning the Tour, which I had sought for many years, I asked myself, 'Now what do I do?' and I started thinking about the Giro."

Wiggins made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro in 2003 and has made five appearances. In 2010, he won the opening time trial in Amsterdam and led the race for one stage, eventually finishing 40th in the general classification.

The three-time Olympic track cycling champion revealed that he first began to believe in his climbing ability when he beat Lance Armstrong in the first big climb of the 2009 Giro at Alpi di Siusi.

"In terms of cycling history, the Giro is just as important as the Tour, but it has a more human aspect," Wiggins said. "The Tour has maybe gotten too big."

Wiggins will ride in support of Sky team-mate Froome this summer after the duo finished first and second in 2012.

"But I'm still hoping to race another Tour at a high level after the Giro, that's the challenge -- maybe another podium," he said. "Anyhow, it's better for the team to have two cards to play than one."

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