Sky would not confirm Bradley Wiggins‘ future in the team and return to the Tour de France after the 2012 winner said during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games his track riding would now take priority over the road heading towards the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“The road will have to take a back seat, we will use the road to compliment it but the priority will be the track. I said at the end that it would probably be the end for grand tours,” Wiggins told the BBC.
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“I can’t imagine doing that with what it’s going to take to get up to speed with these guys. I’ve been there and done it, this has to take priority if we want to take golds.”
Sky continues to race the Tour de France, where it lost captain and 2013 winner Chris Froome in the first week due to crashes. General Manager David Brailsford worked with Wiggins on the track before they switched gears to stage racing. He explained that Wiggins’ future remains uncertain, perhaps focused more on the Rio Olympics.
“He has made it quite clear he wants to go through to the Rio Games and ride,” Brailsford said. “And we are talking with his management team and how we can support that and try and make that happen. We will continue with those discussions.”
Wiggins joined the Sky team in 2010 when it debuted in cycling and helped it win its first Grand Tour in 2012. His contract ends this 2014 season and there has been some speculation, even from the rider himself, that he will switch teams.
“Team Sky has become so competitive now and winning grand tours and places are scarce. Whether or not they have a place for an ex-grand tour winner to just use the racing to prepare for the track… That’s to be discussed,” continued Wiggins.
“I want to make sure that I build a road programme around the track and I don’t want to miss things on the track.”
Wiggins led England to a silver medal behind Australia in the team pursuit on Thursday and sat down with the BBC for an interview afterwards.
In a prior interview in July, Wiggins said that he wants to focus next season on the hour record and Paris-Roubaix. Those goals would fit with his push over the next two years towards Rio. A grand tour may not have a place in his 2015 or 2016 programme.
“Maybe , maybe not, we will see,” Brailsford said about Wiggins’ grand tour return.
“I think that’s down to him. Physically he has changed I’m sure, but it’s hard work to get ready for a grand tour and if you’re focused on trying to develop team-pursuit-specific ability maybe he’ll go more towards prologues, time trials, that type of effort.
“It’s very much down to Brad. If he can make the sacrifices of going to altitude, control all the other things you need to do to ride a grand tour, only he can answer that.”
Four-time Olympic champion admits there is "work to do" after Australia beat England at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Australia win team pursuit, with England second