Sir Bradley Wiggins could be a feature at the 2020 Olympics, saying that at 40, he still won’t be ready to retire.
Having made it to this year’s Rio Games, Wiggins will become the country’s number one Olympian if he manages to claim a medal.
But that might not be enough for him, he says.
“The way I feel, I could go on to Tokyo. I’m a better athlete than I was at my first Olympics 16 years ago or even eight years ago in Beijing,” he told the Mirror.
“I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never really suffered with a bad back or knee problems, so I almost think I could go on for another four years physically.
“The likelihood is that I will wind down at the end of the year, stop and look to do other things, but nothing is set in stone and I like to give myself the option of carrying on.
“I love being part of the British cycling squad, I’ve been part of it for 20 years and it’s a bit like Ryan Giggs at Manchester United – I’ve almost become part of the fabric of the building.
“Rather than go down the job centre in Liverpool, I would rather come in here and train at the velodrome in January.
“I’ve asked the guy in the gym if I can still come in and use the equipment if I retire.
"How long would it be before someone comes round as says, ‘You don’t live here any more’ like Del Boy to Rodney in Only Fools and Horses?
“I love riding my bike, I love the routine of riding the track and the last 12 months have been the most enjoyable for me in a long time.
“Although 20 years ago is a long time, it feels like yesterday. The team we sent to Atlanta were riding their own bikes they were lucky enough to be given by their local bike shops, so the difference now is quite stark.
“It’s still nice to be part of it, and having to prove that I can still do it because nobody’s place was guaranteed.
“You know the kind of stuff: ‘Can he still do it? He’s knocking on a bit, he’s 36 now’, so to go through the process and be selected again feels as good as it did before Sydney in 2000.”
In a series of interviews following the Friday announcement of his place on Team GB, Wiggins also said that he was still in touch with disgraced former technical director Shane Sutton, who left British Cycling under a cloud of bullying and sexism allegations earlier this year.
“Selfishly, from a personal point of view, we [the men’s endurance squad] had nothing to do with Shane since he took the sort of blazer office job,” Wiggins told the Telegraph. “He wasn't around in the track centre any more. And the day it all happened, when it all hit the fan, we went to the US for a month and missed the whole mass hysteria phase.
“When we came back it was all about new bikes and it had all blown over that storm. So from a team pursuit point of view we haven’t really noticed it – he was here one day and out the next - but it's been noticed higher up the chain. The office is quieter now.”
“I’ve had a couple of texts from him. Shane was the first to text me and say ‘I’m still concerned about this from a performance point of view.’ Or ‘You’ve got to get Burkey [Steven Burke] out of the pub’.
"Just wanting to know how the group's going, or when we were in America how the training camp had gone. I think at the heart of it all he still loves the performance stuff really and I guess that was his downfall, going up the chain.
“His greatest asset was coaching and I think everyone has said that. He’s the best coach in the world probably.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.