Bradley Wiggins (Sky) suggested today that he may never return to the Tour de France, which he won last year.
"I've done that," he told the Guardian. "If I'm honest I don't think I'm prepared to make those sacrifices again."
Wiggins is preparing for a return, possibly in the Tour of Poland, and the World Championship time trial in September. It comes after a difficult season, including abandoning the Giro d'Italia last month.
Last year, he was the top stage racer. He won Paris-Nice, Tour of Romandy and the Critérium du Dauphiné in his lead-up to the Tour. An Olympic gold medal in London added to the celebrations and helped him earn knighthood.
Instead of sacrifices, he explained that he wants to enjoy family time this year.
"I didn't go to the altitude camp before the Giro because I wanted to be with my family," he added. "The kids are getting older and I like watching [my son] Ben play rugby and other things."
Chris Froome has been Sky's star this year, winning several stage races on the way to leading the team in the Tour de France. Wiggins was to join him, but his Giro abandon, due to a chest infection, and knee pains put an end to his French ride.
The newspaper reports that he expects to race in Poland, starting July 27, the Tour of Colorado and the Tour of Britain heading to the Worlds in Florence. Froome, Wiggins said, merited his role as Sky leader.
"There has been a natural selection this year through Chris's performances and my performances that he warrants being the team leader," he added. "And if he wins the Tour, that continues through to next year. I can live with that."
The Tour may never again feature in his programme.
Wiggins did not say, but he could focus on one-day classics, like Paris-Roubaix, and time trials.
"For me it was always about winning the Tour... I've achieved what I've achieved. I'm incredibly happy with that," Wiggins explained.
"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. 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."
Chris Froome working on new Sky contract
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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