Team Sky Head of Performance Support Tim Kerrison is hoping that the culmination of a two-year project will see Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France this year.
The former swimming coach has become a major part of the set-up in the team, working specifically with the riders who will support Wiggins during his assault on ‘Le Grand Boucle’ in July.
Wiggins finished 23rd in his first Tour de France for Team Sky, a result that prompted Kerrison and the coaching team to revamp his training methods in a bid to improve his chances of success at the Tour.
A better result seemed on the cards last year before the British rider was cruelly forced to abandon with a broken collarbone, but the season ended on a positive note with a third place finish at the Vuelta a Espana and a silver medal in the World Time Trial Championships.
The improvement has continued in 2012 as Wiggins claimed victory at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine, but the main target remains the Tour.
“After the Tour in 2010 we went through a process of analysing what it was going to take for the team to win the Tour de France, based on our experiences in that first year,” Kerrison said.
“We had a look at the riders we had and the capabilities of the riders we had and we embarked on a programme starting at the end of 2010 to train Bradley and the rest of the team to be able to perform at the level that we know that they need to win the Tour de France.
“There was quite a marked change in Brad’s training from 2010 to 2011 and then this year has just been a progression, building on what we did last year.
“Obviously he had an unfortunate Tour last year where he crashed out. But his performances most of the way through last year were otherwise very good and this year he’s just built on that.
“He’s maintained his consistency - he’s probably one of the most consistent riders in the peloton if not the most consistent. He’s won just about every race he’s started this year.”
Wiggins is not the only rider working with Kerrison as many of his general classification support squad have also benefitted from his input.
An intensive training camp on Tenerife’s Mount Teide served as preparation for Wiggins’ successful defence of the Dauphine title and some more fine-tuning will be done before the Tour start in Liege on June 30.
Kerrison added: “I guess I’ve taken on a role looking at the performances of all our GC riders. Not just the GC contenders but the other guys who make up the GC team.
“Six of the Dauphine team were living at altitude, at 2150 metres on top of a volcano, in Tenerife for two weeks in May and we had three of them up there for two weeks in April as well.
“When you’re basically living on top of a mountain you have no option but to be climbing all day, every day, doing a lot of specific training and refining a lot of the things we know it takes to win in July.”