Sir Bradley Wiggins launched his Paris-Nice campaign in style today with sports director Nicolas Portal following him in a custom Team Sky Jaguar F-Type sporting the iconic rainbow bands of a cycling World Champion.
Jaguar designed the special livery to honour Wiggins’s first European race as World Time Trial Champion, and the coupé married perfectly with the custom Pinarello Bolide race bike Wiggins is also debuting.
The bespoke F-Type Coupé is based on the F-Type R Coupe, and so comes with awesome supercharged 5.0-litre V8 producing 542bhp and 501 lb-ft of torque for 0-100 km/h in a smidge over four seconds and 300 km/h top speed. With special bike racking and other equipment it was first unveiled during last year’s Tour de France.
Wiggins – who won the Paris-Nice classic race in 2012 – hoped to celebrate with a strong opening-day performance but the victor’s yellow jersey went to world road champion Michael Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) who finished less than a second ahead of world Hour Record champion Rohan Dennis (BMC). Both rode the 6.7km course in 7min 40. Third went to former world time trial champion Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), who was seven seconds slower.
Wiggins, reigning world champion in the discipline, finished more than 15 seconds down in 12th.But he was flattered to have been given such special treatment by Jaguar, and said: “Being World Time Trial Champion is a great honour and having an F-Type Jaguar in rainbow colours behind me is incredible.
JLR global brand experience director Mark Cameron added: “We felt it important to celebrate his status as World Time Trial Champion in our own unique way. I’m sure the visual impact of the F-Type Coupé in Paris will grab a lot of attention and demonstrate the innovative nature of our award-winning partnership.”
Wiggins is geared up for eight hard days of racing in France, but confessed: “With my classics training I’m 5-6 kilos heavier than when I won the race, and that’s a huge limiter on what I can do on a climb like the Col d’Eze. It’ll be interesting to see how I compare though.”