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Bradley Wiggins to race 2,000m at Indoor Rowing Champs

Bradley Wiggins is confirmed for 2,000m indoor competition against GB rowers at the British Indoor Champs at the Lee Valley Velodrome

Peter Stuart
17 Nov 2017

Anyone who has completed a 2,000m test on a rowing machine will wonder why anyone would volounteer to such an ordeal, but a restless Sir Bradley Wiggins seems determined to put his form to the test against Great Britain's top Olympic class rowers on 9th December.

Wiggins' transition to rowing has been well documented in recent months, since his claim in June that he would pursue an Olympic spot for 2020 in a rowing boat.

This will be his first competitive showing at rowing, but the indoor championships at the Lee Valley Velodrome won't give any indication of his techncal skill on the water so far.

Wiggins has been training regularly, with numerous social updates on his indoor rowing training as well as sculling sessions on the water with James Cracknell.

Contrary to early speculation, it's now clear that he's pursuing the discipline as a heavyweight rather than lightweight - his latest tweet on the subject showed some substantial weight gain.

The Six-Minute Barrier

His performance at the British Indoor Championships will be an interesting indicator of his potential to secure a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games, which could prove a considerable challenge in terms of the power and technical skill required.

Perhaps the most interesting question for the rowing community will be whether Wiggins can beat the six-minute barrier for a 2,000m test, which traditionally has dictated the necessary physiological standard for a heavyweight international rower.

The very top British athletes are considerably faster than that, with Olympic champion Mohamed Sbihi clocking 5 minutes 41.8 seconds at last year's event.

Put into perspective, a 6.00 time would require an average ouput of 480 watts over the distance. That wattage is comparatively harder to achieve on a rowing machine than a bike, though.

Given the different phsyiological requiremets of rowing, top oarsmen can usually output 20-50 watts more on a static bike than on the rowing machine.

Given Wiggins' apparent average of 456 watts at the 2011 World Championships time trial over 55 minutes, and his considerable increase in bulk muscle since, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at a first public showing well into the territory of a World Class athlete.

However, only time will tell as the physiological demands are so distinctly separate. 

Speaking to Cyclist, 2017 World Championship Bronze medallist in the flagship men's coxless four Matt Rossiter explained, 'Getting close to or under 6 minutes, on a year's worth of rowing training, would be a phenomenal effort.'

'That said, he probably has one of the best engines ever seen in the world of sport, so I wouldn’t be all that surprised!'

Wiggins is thought to be generating some impressive power output. 'I’ve heard rumours that the numbers are looking good so we’ll just have to wait and see,' Rossiter adds.

The event is to be held at the Lee Valley Olympic Park, with spectator tickets from £6, and free for under-16s.