Wiggins: Just one more year on the road, then all systems go for track gold in the 2016 Olympic Games
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Wiggins: Just one more year on the road, then all systems go for track gold in the 2016 Olympic Games

by VeloNation Press at 5:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Briton rules out ever targeting a Grand Tour again

Bradley WigginsSaying that he has already decided on a path back to being a heavier track rider and thus turned away from thoughts of ever winning the Tour de France – or any Grand Tour – again, Bradley Wiggins has indicated that he has one more season as a Team Sky rider and a road race competitor, and then he will walk away.

Although the Briton is just 33 years of age, he has decided that he will turn his back on road racing. Gone are any lingering thoughts of a second Tour. Gone a Giro d’Italia title. Gone, too, is any ambition to win the Vuelta a España.

Instead, his ambitions are centred around time trials in the short term, and track racing beyond that.

“I'm going to continue to the next Olympics and try for a fifth gold on the track. That's the plan,” Wiggins told The Times. “Having lost weight and muscle the last few years, I wouldn't be able to walk back into that team pursuit squad, so I'm not taking it for granted, but I am working towards that. It would be nice to finish the career with another Olympic gold.”

He’s already put on some weight and plans to continue doing so as he continues to undo the work he put in to become a climber. As a result, he said that even if Chris Froome were not available to ride the 2014 Tour de France due to injury, he rules out any thoughts of slotting into a leadership role for the Tour.

“Because of the work I am doing, I am pissing on my chances for that.”

Wiggins tried and failed to win the Giro d’Italia this year, being short of form in the early part of the race. He was dropped on climbs and crashed on the descents; in a broader sense, he looked uncomfortable and unprepared for another tilt at a Grand Tour title.

He withdrew from the race ill and, citing a knee problem, his team announced that he would not ride the Tour de France.

Since then he has ridden the Tour of Poland, winning the time trial stage there en route to a modest 48th overall, and then the Eneco Tour. He was trying for TT success in that race but was fifth in the stage five test.

Despite that, Wiggins will continue working towards the world championships, where he hopes to win the time trial. The rainbow jersey has replaced the yellow jersey as the big target in his mind.

“I don't mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me,” said Wiggins, accepting that his Sky team-mate has the edge. “He is a much better climber, he can time-trial well. He has age on his side, he has no kids. That's fine.

“If Chris wants to, he could potentially win five Tours now. So if I want to win another Tour, I'd probably have to leave the team.” He rules that out, though. “I love this team. This is my home. I'm not going to go, 'I want to be the leader still, so I'm off.'”

There’s well-documented tension between the two riders. Still, Wiggins says that he considers riding the 2014 Tour alongside Froome, trying to help the younger Briton win. However while he admits that he’d “love to go back to the Tour and to do a job as a super-domestique,” perhaps also winning a time trial, he also questions if there’s a place for him on the team due to his higher weight and consequential time trial limitations.

When Wiggins won the Tour, he showed no signs that it would be his last time to try to take the yellow jersey there. He said that a meeting towards the end of June with the Sky principal Dave Brailsford and his former coach Shane Sutton put the writing on the wall. “At that point it was clear,” he tells The Times. “We've got this 28-year-old guy [Froome] who looks like he can dominate for the next few years and they are going to back him. Then there's me: 32, knocking on a bit. In a sense I kind of accept that.”

Since then, he said he’s had a lot of reflection, and also a sense of letting go of his ego.

"I was thinking: 'You know what, I am quite happy with my lot. I've achieved everything I want to achieve. I am good at what I am good at; I am good at the odd time-trial. I've already won the Tour de France, no one can take that away from me.'"

His goal now is to finish up his road career next year, then to spend two years in the velodrome as part of the Great Britain squad, building up for the Olympic Games in Rio and his ambition of taking a fifth gold medal.

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