Wiggins is ready - Brailsford
Sir Dave Brailsford believes Team Sky leader Sir Bradley Wiggins has all the tools in place to claim a second Grand Tour victory at this month's Giro d'Italia.
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Wiggins goes into the race, which starts in Naples on Saturday and ends in Brescia on May 26, as one of the favourites for overall victory and with ambitions to add to the Tour de France title he won last summer.
While that historic victory came on the back of wins in build-up races such as Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine, Wiggins's preparations for the Giro have been a lot more low-key.
Specific climbing training has taken prominence over spring stage-race triumphs, while emphasis has also been put on surrounding Wiggins with a team of climbers suited to the Giro's route.
Brailsford insists the team's meticulous planning will give Wiggins a strong chance of victory.
"I think we've had a good run into it," he said on the Team Sky podcast. "We've got a strong squad here and I think everything is looking good. The preparation has gone well, the final touches were put in place and we are all set to go.
"I think we have seen over the last few years what Bradley is capable of. He is a phenomenal rider and he climbs very, very well. He races at the front of the race now comfortably and he is calm and measured under pressure.
"He can read a race, he is a good leader and he time trials exceptionally well, of course. When you put all those things together, you have got to put him in with a real strong shout."
Wiggins had a key say in the composition of Team Sky's Giro squad, which also contains Colombian climbers Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran, Christian Knees, Danny Pate, Salvatore Puccio, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Dario Cataldo and Xabier Zandio.
Brailsford is confident the support riders will maximise Wiggins's chances of winning.
"It is well documented now that it has been a season goal for Bradley," he added. "With that in mind, you need support in the mountains and you need a strong nucleus of the team who can work hard. If we do need to defend a jersey, then we need to make sure that is in place.
"The climbing and support in the mountains is essential. That is why we have gone for Sergio, Rigoberto, Kosta and Dario Cataldo - all in there as key guys in the mountains.
"But then with Christian, Danny and Xabi, we have got some really big engines in there to help out. In essence, when you put it all together, it is a strong team and there is also a team time trial to think about too."
Wiggins will have to overcome six summit finishes if he is to win the coveted maglia rosa, but Brailsford believes there are other factors that his team leader must be wary of.
"The Giro is a lot different to the Tour," Brailsford continued. "The finishes are somewhat more technical and there are some really difficult run-ins. You always have to be on your guard in the Giro.
"The moment you think 'this is just going to be a regulation stage', then that is the moment of danger. Things can happen at any moment in the Giro as we have seen over the years. You have to be really focused, concentrated and ready for any kind of attack at any moment."