British Cycling’s technical director told the Telegraph’s Tom Cary that Wiggins is currently being judged on his performance in the 2008 games, since when the Brits have knocked more than four seconds off their time.
“My job here is to win medals not friends,” he says. “Brad will know that I’m sat here looking at his numbers and thinking: ‘Right, Brad, this is going to be a big ask for you to make this team.’
“Listen, Brad has basically got a 55 [3min 55sec] posted to his name from the semi in Beijing. Yes, we did a 53 in the final but were behind the back of the Danes for the last four laps.
“We went 51 in London two years ago. We are going to need to go quicker [in Rio], that is for sure.
“The bar needs to be raised. Whether Brad can raise the bar, that is the challenge he has set himself. Only Brad can answer that question.”
Wiggins is likely to forego the second half of the road season in 2015 to focus his time on the track, with an attempt at the Hour Record possibly on the cards.
And with less than two years to go until the Rio Olympics, time is running out for him to get up to speed on the track. But Sutton is backing him to give it a good shot, but insists the final decision will come down to the data.
“It’s great that Brad’s back,” he continued. “Just his presence has lifted the whole team. And the one thing in Brad’s favour is that when he sets his mind to something, like he has here – setting up his team, wanting the fairy-tale ending – it is very hard to distract him from the goal he has set out to achieve.
“The final decision will be made purely on the evidence I have in front of me. Brad would want me to make that decision on that evidence. If he makes it, he makes it. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.