Wiggins ready for business

Bradley Wiggins is full of confidence ahead of his challenge to become the first British winner of the Tour de France.

Wiggins crashed out of last year's cycling race with a broken collarbone but starts in Liege on Saturday highly-fancied following victories in the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine this season.

The three-time Olympic champion won two gold medals in Beijing four years ago and admits he has the same mindset as he had back then.

"I really feel this could be my year. It's simply the way I've felt all season, and that's how it was in 2008," Wiggins told The Guardian. "There have been no upsets, no setbacks, just one phase after another. Now we are finally there.

"Before Beijing in the Great Britain team we were aware of the expectation, knew we were the favourites, but also knew that we had to concentrate on what we had to do. I feel poised, hopefully to make history.

"That doesn't mean I'm dreaming of what might be: I've got my businesslike head on. I feel relaxed and businesslike."

The 32-year-old Team Sky rider believes there are a number of factors in his favour - most notably the absence of Andy Schleck, who misses out due to a broken pelvis.

"There are good reasons to be confident: the team I've got, the way the guys in the team have been riding, the fact that Andy Schleck won't be at the Tour. All those factors add up and give you greater confidence and belief," added Wiggins.

"That feeling of confidence is a hard thing to explain. It's not confidence that you are unbeatable but confidence that you have done the work to the maximum of your ability, and all you have to do now is empty it, be the best athlete you can be and take what you get from it at the end.

"It's not going to be pleasant, but it's what needs to be done. It's not going to be nice. In fact, it's going to be horrible."