Not riding the Tour de France is probably the best thing Bradley Wiggins has done this year. Instead of being part of Team Sky’s worst ever Tour de France campaign, he proved to be the powerhouse in England’s Commonwealth Games team pursuit squad and effectively staked his claim to compete in Rio 2016.
July wasn’t looking good for Britain’s most famous cyclist, who, after being snubbed for Tour selection by Dave Brailsford, was pondering his future at Team Sky.
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“The last six or seven weeks since I’ve been back on the track have just been really refreshing and a good distraction from all that Tour de France nonsense,” he told the BBC.
“It’s given me another focus rather than just lolling about at home feeling miserable.”
Given the short notice of his return to the velodrome it was impressive how easily the former Olympic individual and team pursuiter fitted back in, proving to be the strongest rider who could manage the longest in turns in both rides.
“I certainly answered the question of whether I can still do it, but I still think it will take a lot more improvement and dedication,” he said.
On the evidence of last week’s performance, Brailsford’s loss will definitely be Team GB’s gain.
“I’m kind of done with the road now. I’ve bled it dry,” was Wiggins’s verdict, whereas he describes his track comeback as “like being a kid again”.
“It’s over in four minutes, but I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said.
And why shouldn’t the Bradley Wiggins story have a happy ending? The countdown to Rio starts here.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly