Wiggins plays down Tour expectations

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LES HERBIERS, France (AP) -- Bradley Wiggins says he is in perfect shape for this year's Tour de France, yet he is playing down his chances of a podium finish as the bitter memory of last year's race lingers in his mind.

Having finished an impressive fourth behind Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong in 2009, Wiggins slumped to a disappointing 24th-place finish at last year's Tour when there was expectation of a podium spot.

The 31-year-old British rider certainly learned a hard lesson, and he wants to distance himself from all pre-race hype.

Wiggins said Thursday that "I was written off after last year's race, and I'm back in the limelight all of a sudden."