Sir Bradley Wiggins is among the riders named on British Cycling’s Olympic podium programme for 2016/17, in a further hint that the Olympic and Tour de France champion is not quite ready to retire yet.
The riders named on the list receive support from British Cycling to fulfill the aim of winning medals at the next Olympic Games, so it was with some surprise that Wiggins appeared on the list published on Thursday. Wiggins has previously said that he will not race in the 2020 Tokyo Games and that he is ready to retire.
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However, Wiggins first hinted that he may not retire from track racing after he and Mark Cavendish won the Ghent Six in November. Now, it looks as though Britain’s most decorated Olympian will carry on racing as part of the British track endurance squad going into 2017.
BC says that they will support Wiggins if he does decide to continue racing, saying via Twitter: “Bradley Wiggins is continuing to consider the direction of his future. We are happy to give him the flexibility to allow him to do that”.
Wiggins was part of Great Britain’s gold-medal-winning team pursuit squad in Rio, and showed no sign that he is off his best form. A Track World Championship win in the Madison with Cavendish in March, along with his Ghent Six win, show that he still has something to give.
Wiggins’s track experience is unrivalled in the British team, and his experience will be valuable in nurturing the future generation of GB track stars, such as Mark Stewart, Oliver Wood and Chris Latham, all of whom are named on the podium programme.
All was not plain sailing for Wiggins in 2016, however. The 36-year-old was caught up in the WADA therapeutic use exemption certificate (TUE) hacking controversy after the Rio Olympics, when the publication of his hacked medical records showed that he had received injections of corticosteroids prior to the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France (the year he won), and 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Wiggins subsequently explained that they were for the legitimate treatment of allergies and respiratory problems, but the issue received attention in the press because it contradicted a passage in his autobiography that stated he had never received injections. There was no suggestion of wrong-doing.
In addition to track and road line-ups, BC’s podium programme also supports riders taking part in the remaining Olympic cycling disciplines of BMX and cross-country mountain biking.
“In a year which has seen some fantastic performances from the Great Britain Cycling Team, the bar for programme membership remains high and we have a very strong podium programme squad to lead us into the next Olympic cycle,” said BC programmes director Andy Harrison.
“In particular, I’m pleased to see the strength and depth we have within the women’s road squad which has been bolstered by the additions Dani King, Nikki Brammeier and former mountain biker Alice Barnes which paints a very different picture to where we were with this squad a couple of years ago.
“I’m also very happy with the pathway progression of the six academy riders who have stepped up from senior academy level and already we’re seeing great results from the track riders.
“Throughout the pathway system we have some incredibly talented riders and we are confident of continuing our success in the coming years.”
British Cycling is currently searching for a performance director to take up the role previously occupied by Sir Dave Brailsford. Harrison is currently overseeing the British team.
British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider list 2016/17
Men’s Track Endurance
Sir Bradley Wiggins
Women’s Track Endurance
Joanna Rowsell Shand
Men’s Track Sprint
Women’s track sprint