Bradley Wiggins targets Giro ahead of Tour de France defence
Olympic champion says the Italy race takes priority over defending his Tour de France title
Bradley Wiggins has spelled out his objectives for the season, with the British cycling star focusing on a debut win in the Tour of Italy rather than a defence of his Tour de France title.
Wiggins gave a preview of how he sees his year panning out for Team Sky after filling a lowly 74th in the Tour of Oman on Saturday behind teammate and winner Chris Froome.
Explaining his decision to target the Giro, Wiggins, who is expected to play a supporting role to help 2012 Tour runner-up Froome win the cycling blue riband this year, said: "I just wanted a new set of challenges.
"It took a long time for the motivation to come back.
"After the Olympics there was a long period when I thought, 'What the hell am I gonna do next [this] year', because I put so much in 18 months for that Tour project.
"I knew I wanted to go back and compete at a high level again, I didn't want to retire.
"I had to find something that would inspire me to go and train, and for me the Giro was something else I really would love to try and win. So, for me, it was just about having a different set of challenges."
Whatever 2013 serves up Wiggins is acutely aware he will be hard pushed to match the highs of 2012 when he became Britain's first ever Tour de France winner, won a fourth Olympic gold medal on the streets of London, was awarded a knighthood and was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Reflecting on his remarkable season, he said: "I don't think people fully appreciate the four years it took to get there last year, and what that entailed.
"We went from 2009 when people said, 'It's just a waste a money, he's never gonna win the Tour, he's a flash in the pan', to a pretty disastrous 2010 and then there you go, 'It's a confirmation, he is a disaster, just a waste of money, why have they invested in him'.
"To 2011, really going back to the drawing board, and change it all around, and then 2012, the Tour, the London Olympics."
He describes the Giro as "a new challenge", explaining that the race has a particular significance for him.
"I think it goes back to my childhood really," he said.
"It was one of the few races that actually came on the telly other than the Tour de France, when I was a teenager, and so I grew up reading magazines, and stuff like this; and the Giro just stuck in my mind."