Wiggins says Olympic time trial target means he may have to cut short road race

Three-time Olympic champ may not go the distance with time trial looming four days later

by Simon_MacMichael   December 15, 2011  

Bradley Wiggins chases during the Vuelta (copyright: Tour of Spain/Graham Watson).jpg

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.

10 user comments

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Are they still going to claim that it's not going to be a problem to support both Cav and Wiggo on le Tour? Big Grin

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mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [177 posts]
15th December 2011 - 12:10

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Doesn't seem to be a claim the bookies believe. Wiggo currently 14/1 to win yellow (including Contador in the betting, 9/1 without him), Cav 2 to 1 ON to win the green jersey (6/4 anyone else).

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7926 posts]
15th December 2011 - 13:19

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Wiggo obviously doesn't feel he owes Cav anything after the madison in the last olympics.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
15th December 2011 - 13:57

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Quote:
"It [the Vuelta] was a great performance, third place, but it was far from my best."

In that case he should have ridden faster and won it! I don't think he has 'become a climber' either. He has got better at going up hills, but that's not the same thing as staying with Cobo & Froome in Spain.

Brad has been saying this kind of thing for a while now about his potential. It's not as if he's new to the game, either. If he's sacrificing what looks to be a favourable parcours in the 2012 TdF then I hope he gets something special at the Olympics for his efforts.

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posted by Simon E [1909 posts]
15th December 2011 - 14:05

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re: thehatter

i think he realised he did, but the pay back came at the worlds. His performance in copenhagen with that monstrous turn on the front looked to me like a man who realised he owed cav something.

posted by eddie11 [75 posts]
15th December 2011 - 14:23

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Simon E wrote:
Quote:
"It [the Vuelta] was a great performance, third place, but it was far from my best."

In that case he should have ridden faster and won it! I don't think he has 'become a climber' either. He has got better at going up hills, but that's not the same thing as staying with Cobo & Froome in Spain.

I think his comment has to be viewed in the context that the Vuelta was never part of his programme until he broke his collarbone before the Tour, which led to an enforced break in training and in any event he had no tailored programme leading up to the race.

Is he better at climbing? Well, he's not going to fly up the mountains like some pure climbers, but I reckon the Dauphine and most of the Vuelta (until perhaps the effects of the late decision to enter showed up) demonstrated that he's got a lot better at limiting his losses, so that's a positive.

Of course, if the TTT had all gone to plan for Sky, we might be looking back on a British grand tour winner already.

Having said that, Cobo was in one of the two teams that finished behind them in Benidorm Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7926 posts]
15th December 2011 - 17:54

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Wiggins said before the Vuelta:
"Everything suggests I'm in as good shape as going into the Tour, the numbers are pointing to good form"
This suggests that the Vuelta would show him at or near his best.

I agree that 'limiting his losses' would better describe his ability in the mountains, but that's only to be expected of an allrounder. His performance in the Vuelta, always prominent near the front and particularly the long climbs like on the day Dan Martin won a stage, really showed off his abilities (and I am so, so pleased that I could watch it on ITV4).

I don't think it's relevant to speculate whether Bradley 'owed' Mark anything after the 2008 Madison. In Copenhagen the team had a detailed strategy and stuck to it; he was there to do a big turn on the front and he did it.

OK, some measure of understatement there, he did a monster turn on the front!
Cool

Cancellara has already been for a look at the TT course, Tony Martin will want to be on top form too. Can Brad can find something extra for the Olympics while wearing GB colours in his home country...?

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posted by Simon E [1909 posts]
15th December 2011 - 21:36

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Lets get behind Brad and the rest of the GB lot for 2012...its going to be a great year for british cycling and one where we hopefully see a TDF yellow jersey and a few gold medals on GB shoulders (on and off the road hopefully)!

In the meantime...Cav for SPOTY this year???

Ben Burns's picture

posted by Ben Burns [61 posts]
16th December 2011 - 9:32

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Ben Burns wrote:
Cav for SPOTY this year???

You are surely the ONLY person on any cycling forum who dares to put question marks after what should surely be a statement of fact.

Cav for SPOTY. THERE SHALL BE NO OTHER OPTION.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1909 posts]
16th December 2011 - 11:53

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I know a brave comment there but I completely agree, it should only be Cav...let's hope!

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posted by Ben Burns [61 posts]
16th December 2011 - 23:26

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