Bradley Wiggins has said he is going all out to try and win the fourth Olympic gold medal of his career in the individual time trial at London next year – and that means he may not complete the full distance of the road race four days earlier, when Mark Cavendish is looking to win the first event of the Games.
"With complete priority to the time trial that's unfortunate, but that's the way it is," Wiggins said yesterday at Team Sky’s training camp in Mallorca, reports the BBC.
Due to his competing in the time trial, Wiggins, whose three gold medals have come on the track – he defended the individual pursuit title he had won at Athens in Beijing, where he was also a member of the victorious team pursuit squad – is certain to be one of the five British riders taking part in the road race.
However, while in the world championships in Copenhagen in September Wiggins was able to play a crucial role in Mark Cavendish’s victory after he himself had won time trial silver, the order of the events in next summer’s Olympics mean that priorities may have to be re-assessed.
Referring to the road race, which will see the first medals of London 2012 awarded and which takes place the morning after the opening ceremony, Wiggins said: "I will have a job that day. The coaches will define that job that I do and it will be with the priority of the time trial.
"Whether that involves the whole race, the first part of the race, who knows? That's all part of the strategy going forward."
Wiggins will also play what might be described as the role of ‘super sub’ for the team pursuit squad on the track, able to be drafted in should another member of the team suffer illness or injury. Earlier this year, Wiggins had helped Great Britain win the UCI Track World Cup Classics in Manchester.
Prior to the Olympics, Wiggins is targeting the maillot jaune in the Tour de France and insists that his performance in September’s Vuelta, where he finished third, is just a glimpse of what he believes he is capable of.
He had chosen to ride the Spanish event after crashing out of the Tour de France when he broke his collarbone on Stage 7 of the race.
"I think I've become more than just a time trialist now, I think I've become a climber," he explained.
"It [the Vuelta] was a great performance, third place, but it was far from my best."
The 31-year-old’s 2012 programme will start with the Tour of Algarve in February, and he will also race Paris-Nice, which he finished third in this year.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.