Cycling - Wiggins keen for another tilt on fearsome cobbles

Shortly after crossing the line on the Roubaix velodrome, Bradley Wiggins lay on the grass, his face reflecting his efforts on the bone-crushing cobbles of the Hell of the North - and he wished he could do it all over again next weekend.

Reuters
Cycling - Wiggins keen for another tilt on fearsome cobbles
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Britain's Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Belgium's Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) ride through a cobblestoned section during the 112th edition of the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic cycling race on April 13, 2014 between Compiegne and Roubaix (AFP)

The Briton, the first rider since Greg Lemond in 1992 to start the Queen of the Classics as a former Tour de France winner, took an impressive ninth place after 257 kilometres, 51.1 of them on cobbled sections.

He was one of the first of a peloton of 199 starters to emerge from the cloud of dust, a dozen bikes travelling at neck-breaking speed on the feared Carrefour de l'Arbre.

"You really have to commit going into these sectors and close your eyes," Wiggins told reporters.

"I had the legs, even in the final I felt strong," added the 33-year-old, who takes pride in "not being a one-trick pony" as he has won not just the Tour but also Olympic gold medals on the track and the road.

A man with deep knowledge of his sport's history and culture, Wiggins finally realised what he was achieving - being in the mix with names who will be remembered as Classics greats.

"I was pinching myself a little it, I don't mind admitting it," he said.

"To be in the final there going past (quadruple champion Tom) Boonen on the Carrefour (de l'Arbre), that was something special and then to come into the velodrome in a group with (triple winner Fabian) Cancellara...

"It gives confidence that I can match those guys and to go top 10 in hindsight is a good result."

Wiggins, who made his professional debut under the wing of double Paris-Roubaix winner Marc Madiot at French team Francaise des Jeux, hopes he will have the chance to take part again in Paris-Roubaix.

"I'd love to come back in the next few years and do it," he said, although it will have to wait a bit as he is set to make his return to the track next year.

Wiggins also enjoyed spending time with the Team Sky classics squad.

"It has been fantastic to be with this group," he said. "It's a shame there's not another one next week."

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