Bradley Wiggins will be back on the track this winter and has confirmed he will be targeting the team pursuit at the London Olympics in two years’ time.
The Team Sky rider was part of the Great Britain pursuit quartet that won gold in Beijing in 2008. Wiggins also won the Olympic individual pursuit title for the second time in China.
But after finishing fourth in last year’s Tour de France he hinted that his track career might be behind him. Then the UCI changed the Olympic Games track programme – removing the individual pursuit and Madison.
Wiggins had previously said that he would probably ride the road time trial at the London Games but at the Sky Ride event in Manchester yesterday he confirmed he will be back on the boards this winter with the Olympics the big goal.
He told Sky Sports News: “With the Olympics being in London – potentially my last Olympics, I don’t know – it will be a fantastic way to finish. To get another gold medal there in the team pursuit, will be the goal now for us. Already Geraint Thomas and I are looking to come back into the team pursuit squad at the World Cup in Manchester in February. It’s time to get back on the boards to defend our title.”
If Wiggins does ride the team pursuit it raises the question of whether he will do the Tour de France in 2012. When preparing for the Olympics in 2004 and 2008 he and other British track riders rode the Giro d’Italia instead.
Talking about the Sky Ride, Wiggins said: “Seeing it in the flesh is fantastic. The level of participation on not a great day weather wise has been fantastic. Seeing families out today, kids with stabilizers on their bikes, it’s just fantastic. What a way to spend a Sunday with your family.”
OIympic sprint champion Victoria Pendleton, who was also making an appearance at the Sky Ride, said: “I came from a very cycling-orientated family and I spent a lot of time cycling with my parents and brothers and sisters so this is a great starting point for so many kids to take up cycling as a hobby.”
Asked about her decision to skip the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October – as Sir Chris Hoy will – Pendleton explained that the new European Championships being held in November take priority because they carry qualifying points for the Olympics. “That has to be my priority for the next couple of years because missing it would be devastating. I am disappointed to miss the Commonwealth Games. I’m very fond of it. It was the first major competition I competed in but the decision was made for us really. It’s too hard to peak twice so close together so the Europeans come first.”
Reflecting on the Tour de France, Wiggins said: “Disappointing. Disappointing. It’s hard to be a failure. It’s the Tour, it’s sport, sometimes you get it right sometimes you don’t get it right. This year we made a big sacrifice trying to do the Tour of Italy two months before and we paid the price.
“It’s a new project. Dave [Brailsford] has been very open about what we’re trying to do achieve but that’s the beauty of sport, sometimes you’re a winner, sometimes you’re a loser. On this occasion we were losers. But that’s the great thing about Dave and the team, they’ll go away and work and we’ll come back even stronger next year.”
2010-2011 TRACK WORLD CUP
Melbourne, Australia – December 2-4, 2010
Cali, Colombia – December 16-18, 2010
Beijing, China – January 21-23, 2011
Manchester, Great Britain – February 18-20, 2011