Wiggins should focus on Giro/Vuelta double in 2013

Bradley Wiggins (GBR), left, and Christopher Froome (GBR) during stage twenty of the 2012 Tour de France in Paris. (Frederic Mons/Presse Sports via US PRESSWIRE)

PARIS, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Bradley Wiggins should focus on winning the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Spain next year instead of retaining his Tour de France title, according to Team Sky head coach Shane Sutton.

Wiggins, 32, is looking to win all three Grand Tours before retiring and next year’s Tour de France is likely to favor top climbers such as Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck or team mate Chris Froome.

“It took 106 years (…) to find a British winner and it is a phenomenal achievement. Whether we have an appetite to go back and repeat I am not sure yet,” Australian Sutton told Eurosport.

Only five riders – Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi and Contador – have won the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta. Sutton believes it is a feat Olympic time trial champion Wiggins could achieve.

“I would like to see Brad go out of this sport, not that he won’t as it stands already, but as a legend,” he said.

“But I think the legendary status for him could be enhanced by winning the three Grand Tours. I think he should target the Tour of Italy and then the Vuelta.”

Wiggins finished third overall in the 2011 Vuelta after recovering from a broken collarbone on the Tour that year.

“He came third in the Vuelta off the back of laying on a hospital bed for six or seven weeks out after a shoulder operation. So that is doable,” said Sutton.

“The Giro is a different one; it is a different kettle of fish. But if anyone can do it, Brad can.”

Only three riders – Contador, Merckx and Giovanni Battaglin – have won the Giro and the Vuelta in the same year.

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