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2012 Tour winner accepts it was his only chance

Sir Bradley Wiggins has laid out the road map for the remainder of his career, and is planning to finish on a high note the same way he started: on the track.

In an interview with Owen Slot of The Times, Wiggins said he plans to ride for Team Sky for one more year, and then focus his attention on making the British squad for the team pursuit in the 2016 Olympics.

“I’m going to continue to the next Olympics and try for a fifth gold on the track. That’s the plan,” he said. “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.”

And while he thinks he has one more Tour de France in him, it will be as a support rider for Team SKy’s 2013 Tour de France winner, and not as team leader.

“I don’t mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me,” Wiggins said. “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's not planning on going anywhere, 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.’ ”

New goals

Wiggins has already said that he is rebuilding the less-skeletal version of himself that rode to track glory before he targeted the Tour de France. He now says there is no turning back, even if Chris Froome’s spot as team leader for the 2014 Tour somehow became vacant.

“Because of the work I am doing,” he said, “I am p*****g on my chances for that.

“I can’t put all this weight on and then suddenly lose muscle and do GC again,” he said. “Anyway, the next person in line, the natural successor, is Richie Porte. He really is the next one who could potentially win the Tour.”

Instead he will target the one-day Classics next year, then hope for a spot on Sky’s Tour team - if he’s good enough. He also questions openly whether “there is a place for me on that team” if he’s carrying too much weight to be useful support to Froome in the mountains.

And despite the soap opera frostiness between Wiggins and Froome in the last few months, and between their partners Kath Wiggins and Michelle Cound, Wiggins says he is now desperate to ride for Froome.

Since dropping out of the Giro in May, too injured to have any chance of making the Tour team, Wiggins has been through “a lot of reflection”.

But this is an older, wiser Wiggins than the rider who returned from Athens in 2004 and when on a nine-month bender in the comedown from Olympic hero to everyday working pro bike rider.

This time, he says he was content to sit on the bench during the Tour.

“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.’”

Despite his previous claims that he didn’t watch Froome’s Tour win, he admitted he did catch up with the news and daily highlights after long training rides in Mallorca.

“It made me appreciate how far I had come the year before,” he said.

“You can look at it two ways. You can go: ‘F*****g hell, he’s got my crown.’ Or, you can think: ‘You know what, this race is unbelievable. I did this last year. How did I do it?’

“A year ago, I took everything in my stride, but a year later, you are on the outside watching it and it is inspiring in some ways, watching the guys doing what they were doing. And in a way I was like: ‘I’m glad I’m not there because it looks bloody hard.’”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

15 comments

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Nick T [921 posts] 3 years ago
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I think I called a return to the track after the whole Giro saga, and who can blame him? He's a phenomenal track cyclist who managed to cross codes and win the most prestigious road title out there - what an achievement. Good luck to him back on the track, Great Britain should be grateful that he's still even got the hunger to continue.

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AWPeleton [3347 posts] 3 years ago
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Completely agree with Nick T, he is a phenomenal rider and as he says in the interview he has achieved everything he wanted.

Interesting now though in that do Sky bring in another GC rider as they only have Froome, Porte and Henao with Wiggins saying he will be a support rider.

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JoeyL [42 posts] 3 years ago
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I really hope he tries to win a monument or two next year. Love to see him win Paris Nice.

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Linkinbassist [33 posts] 3 years ago
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I think he could give the Ardenne classics a decent crack, but otherwise I'm slightly at a loss with Wiggo. I seriously don't understand why he wants to go back to the track, but I'm not Wiggins I guess. I think he'll have a task on his hands at securing the World TT champs this year, esp. if Martin and Phinney are anywhere near top form, but we'll see...

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Nick T [921 posts] 3 years ago
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Why not? Track isn't some poor relation to road, it's not as though he's stepping down a division. I liken it to Rugby Union and Rugby League, they look the same but to assume they are is missing the point. He's a natural track rider though, who's true talent lies in his ability to race within himself rather than in response to others, so he can still be top dog in the discipline. A mountainous stage race just really doesn't suit him at all well in comparison.

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wheelsucker [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Linkinbassist wrote:

I seriously don't understand why he wants to go back to the track,

Lets see, it's warm, dry and not windy, races start afternoon or evening, so fewer early mornings, oh and he's good at it..  3

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Wiggins is such a frustrating character.
One day he is really annoying me with his 'attitude' and the next he is being humble and endearing.
He seems like a genuinely decent human being and i reckon all the palaver of the road all gets a bit much for him nowadays. All the politics and mither and what not.
It will be fantastic to see him slip into retirement via the track and maybe win a medal or two at Rio.
British cycling owes him a huge debt
Viva Wiggins
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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 3 years ago
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I agree with Some Fella, a very frustrating character, in my view he has been a complete tit this year, yes he has been unfortunate with injury's but he has shown no form and just a big mouth, to me its clear his heart and drive were not in it this year.

Good luck to him in the world's and on the track, even though he could of handled himself better in 2013, in my eyes he is still a legend.

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IanW1968 [273 posts] 3 years ago
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Olympic Gold medalist, TDF winner, Cycling Icon, Stylish dude, enjoys live, doesn't take it too serious, what exactly would you like from the guy?

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Leviathan [2059 posts] 3 years ago
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Will he be elevated to Lord Wiggins if be bags another Gold? Honestly he doesn't have to win anything else for us as he is already a legend, so I guess the question is about desire. I do think it is a little bit of a shame that he might be written off as a one hit wonder if people only think he had one glorious summer (but what a summer) and forget the rest. Especially the Froome agitators who want to take his Tour off him. C'est la vie.

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cherrypicked [168 posts] 3 years ago
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C'mon braddles do one for the team. Domestic duties, win the tt.....

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Fran The Man [81 posts] 3 years ago
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Could it be a case of family first? It's interesting that he says of Froome: "... he has no kids." And he's recently spoken of the personal sacrifices he made to win Le Tour in 2012. Whatever he does – and he's notorious for changing his mind – it'll be great to see him out there again, trying to win races. He's been missed during this season.

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stefv [211 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm gutted we never got to truly see Wiggins v Nibali in this year's Giro - that would've been awesome (and close). I guess that will never happen now...

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Graphikdan [3 posts] 3 years ago
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With that TT form of his i'd love to see him attempt the Hour Record. He could do it. Plus he can train at home in that lovely big shed in his garden so won't have to spend too much time away from home.

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djcritchley [181 posts] 3 years ago
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"... Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me ..."

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