Sir Bradley Wiggins says he may not target Tour de France again

Man who last year bcame first Briton to win maillot jaune cites family sacrifices and acknowledges Froome's ascendancy

by Simon_MacMichael   June 21, 2013  

Wiggins riding Arc de Triomphe

Sir Bradley Wiggins has hinted he may never target overall victory in the Tour de France again, citing the sacrifices that he and his family have had to make, although there is also an acknowledgement that Chris Froome may be emerging as Sky’s undisputed team leader.

Ahead of last year’s race, when he became the first Briton to win the maillot jaune, Wiggins spent months away from his family, either racing or at training camps, and the demands of preparing for a Grand Tour appear to be something he is increasingly reluctant to accept.

While he hasn't said outright he won't ride the race again, the approach taken by Sky last year and again in the months leading up to this year's race have seen a core group of riders race and train together, so while the pressure of not being team leader in the future may not be an issue, there would still be those enforced absences to deal with.

Speaking to The Guardian at an event on behalf of the charity Joining Jack, he said: "For me it was always about winning the Tour. I've done that. If I'm honest I don't think I'm prepared to make those sacrifices again that I made last year, with my family and so on. I've achieved what I've achieved. I'm incredibly happy with that.”

History strongly suggests that time is not on Wiggins’ side in terms of securing a second Tour victory. By the time of the Grand Départ in Yorkshire next year, he will have passed his 34th birthday; since World War II, only Gino Bartali in 1948 and Cadel Evans two years ago, have won the Tour after passing that landmark. Both were aged 34 at the time of those wins.

"If I do anything else after this it will be stuff I want to do, stuff that I'm willing to train hard and sacrifice for really,” Wiggins said. “For me it was always about winning the Tour, that was a huge thing for me, a huge journey; I've been doing that four years.

“I don't know if I'd want to go through all that again to be honest. I've always had other goals and there are other things I'd like to try and do."

For now, Wiggins isn’t saying what those specific goals may be, but he is on record as saying that Paris-Roubaix is another race he wants to win before his career is over.

While Wiggins had made noises about seeking to defend his Tour title – in apparent conflict with Sky’s insistence that Froome would lead its challenge – the knee injury disclosed at the end of May and confirmation last year’s winner would therefore miss the race, settled that debate at a stroke.

Ahead of last year’s Tour, Wiggins had been dominant in one-week stage races, his experience in leading those proving valuable by the time the Tour came around, and this year it is Froome who has taken a similar path as he has prepared for the race, which starts on Corsica a week on Saturday.

Wiggins has acknowledged the progress that Froome, runner-up to him in Paris last year, has made during 2013.

"Chris has really stepped up, he's delivered now and he looks like he's really going to be there for a few years to win a few Tours maybe,” he reflected.

"There has been a natural selection this year through Chris's performances and my performances that he warrants being the team leader; and if he wins the Tour, that continues through to next year.

“I can live with that. I didn't go to the altitude camp before the Giro because I wanted to be with my family; the kids are getting older and I like watching [his son] Ben play rugby and other things."

Wiggins has returned to training after an enforced two-week period off the bike to let his knee recover, and his next race is likely to be the Tour of Poland – which actually begins with two stages in the Italian region of Trentino – at the end of July.

He is also aiming to ride in September’s Tour of Britain: "That's a race I've always wanted to do well in. It's getting bigger every year and in terms of profile in this country it's a nice thing to do well in."

Last summer, Wiggins followed up his Tour de France victory with the fourth Olympic gold medal of his career, winning the time trial at Hampton Court, and it is believed he may target the world championships in that discipline at the end of September.

That would help him rescue something from a 2013 season that he started with high hopes of challenging for the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia, but his challenge there had already faltered by the time illness forced him to abandon halfway through the three-week race.

A return to Italy, and specifically Tuscany for the World Championships, is in Wiggins' sights, however: “The Worlds was always a focus and if anything this gives me a better opportunity to focus on it,” he explained.

“Doing the Giro and the Tour it was always a matter of how much would be left because there is an eight-week period from the end of the Tour to the Worlds which is a long time. This has given me time to stop after the Giro and I've got a nice chunk of time to get ready for the Worlds," he concluded.

If Wiggins has indeed ridden his last Tour de France, he will be only the fifth man in history (ignoring Floyd Landis, subsequently stripped of the title he won in 2006) to have won the overall in his final participation in the race – the last to do so was Fausto Coppi in 1952.

18 user comments

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erm...Simon...where in Foth's article - apart from the Graun's headline - does it quote Wiggo as saying that he may never RIDE the Tour again? He certainly says he may never 'attempt to win it' again. I cant see anywhere in the article where he says he may not ride in it again.

(personally I dont think he will ever want to ride in the same team as Froome again - but thats not the point)

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
21st June 2013 - 13:34

5 Likes

Brad for a victory in Spain this year anyone?

EDIT: scrap that - just re-read the ToB bit!!

posted by Super Domestique [1653 posts]
21st June 2013 - 13:45

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Sam1 - you're correct, overactive imagination... I've tweaked headline and opening, to reflect the GC angle... though as I say, even as a support rider, there is the issue of absences to deal with.

I guess the other thing to consider with him is he has focused on goals throughout his career, whether that be on the track, or later on GC... so would future plans include riding the Tour as a team member? Open to debate...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8491 posts]
21st June 2013 - 14:37

5 Likes

...

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
21st June 2013 - 14:52

4 Likes

I know, I know...but the interview all news outlets are using is Will Foth's, and Brad Wiggins is saying he may not race it to win, again - he's not ruling out riding the thing. And so many other platforms and channels have done exactly the same, processed the inaccurate headline and not read the actual interview. Just as with Froome's interview the other day when he said he has 6-7 Tours in his career future to line up for - and this got tagged as him saying he wanted to dominate the Tour for the next 7 years.

Confused

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
21st June 2013 - 14:53

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Given the Sky way I can't see Wiggins being willing to bust his backside to train as a super domestique if he is not willing to do the training needed to win. There is probably little difference and Sky often send the bulk of the team off to Teide to train together. He just seems to have altered to priorities and will race accordingly. Probably also signals curtains to his time with Sky.

posted by JonnieC [12 posts]
21st June 2013 - 14:55

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In his interview in the TdF programme (which looks like it went to print before he dropped out) he says a similar thing - that coming from his background, the TdF isn't the be all and end all of his career as it is with some riders so he's happy with the one win on his palmares and can move onto other things.

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
21st June 2013 - 15:58

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I doubt Wiggins will ride the TDF again.

Why would he need to? It's not just that he's the first Brit to win the TDF that made last year special but the three other tour wins that have never been done by anyone else and the olympic medal as the cherry on top. There is no way of topping that achievement - yet a year on it seems to some that it's not enough and Wiggins is about to slink away as a failure.

I imagine if he found a cure for cancer there'd be people tutting and saying "that's all well and good but where's Wiggo's solution to the Middle East conflict?!" Big Grin

The whole British pro cycling scene is very disappointing at the moment but we're going to have to live with it. Big Grin

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1093 posts]
21st June 2013 - 16:11

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Stop being a puff Brad, one or two more years of sacrifice for the Grand tours would be fine, then retire at about 35/36!

posted by willjeffcott [8 posts]
21st June 2013 - 19:48

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You've either got the legs to do it or you don't, spare us this "I could do it again if I wanted to" talk please.

posted by Nick T [844 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 8:07

6 Likes

Something went pop in his head in Italy and remains popped. Best thing for him is the Worlds TT. Roubaix??? Another Giro pipe dream Yawn

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 9:05

4 Likes

Pitstone Peddler wrote:
Something went pop in his head in Italy and remains popped. Best thing for him is the Worlds TT. Roubaix??? Another Giro pipe dream Yawn

No descents in Roubaix. Surely a race that does suit him and worth a crack! Wouldn't require so much sacrifice and Sky have had precious little success in the classics.

posted by Alan Tullett [1465 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 12:44

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lol I guess Brailsford has dropped him then. Wink

posted by Parkaboy [12 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 14:40

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Anyone think that, with Froome becoming established as the leader of Brailsford's machine, Bradley might move on to another team where he's encouraged to "do stuff that I want to do, stuff that I'm willing to train hard and sacrifice for"? After all, in a funny sort of way, he was never a typical "Sky rider". Too much of an individual, maybe, too much of a maverick, like Cav.
One thing I'm sure of is that last year's exploits were almost entirely unrepeatable.
Perhaps we're asking too much of him .....

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [72 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 18:55

7 Likes

Fran The Man wrote:
Anyone think that, with Froome becoming established as the leader of Brailsford's machine, Bradley might move on to another team where he's encouraged to "do stuff that I want to do, stuff that I'm willing to train hard and sacrifice for"? After all, in a funny sort of way, he was never a typical "Sky rider". Too much of an individual, maybe, too much of a maverick, like Cav...
Perhaps we're asking too much of him .....

Oh please. Cav left Sky because they couldn't offer him a lead-out train, because they wanted to protect GT riders. The fact Cav still won three stages of the '12 TdF shows how good is really is.

Let's not have this 'maverick' vs 'boring' dichotomy in Sky. We're lucky to have a British-ish pro Team who can ride and win GT's, and they do it by teamwork.

posted by Not KOM [79 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 8:18

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what a twat, just in it for the glory and the fame, very sad ...

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 9:39

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pot, kettle, kev.

posted by andyp [1067 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 16:12

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Point taken about Team Sky, Not KOM. And I agree about Cav, who proved his point again today in Glasgow.

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [72 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 18:33

4 Likes