Shane Sutton believes Bradley Wiggins’s return to track racing will have a “massive” impact on the entire British squad.
Wiggins returned to international competition at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last Thursday, his most high-profile event on the boards since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
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And GB technical director Sutton, the 34-year-old’s long-time mentor, feels that his presence will boost the team in the build-up to the Rio Games in two summers’ time.
“You look at the loss of [Victoria] Pendleton and [Chris] Hoy, they were big figures going into London,” said Sutton.
“You need those in your team. Sir Bradley coming back has coming everybody a big lift.”
Wiggins was part of the English squad who took silver in the team pursuit at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Australia took the gold with a time of 3-54.851, four-and-a-half seconds ahead of England, although Sutton insisted they are not already out of sight.
“We’ve gone four seconds quicker than at the worlds. That New Zealand team [in Glasgow] were third at the worlds, we put them away here,” he said.
“You say the Aussie team is going fast – they’re still only around 54. They’re no quicker than they were before London. They’re probably on a limit.
“We’ve got good periodisation, we know when to get it right. We’ve been there, we’ve done it, we know what it takes.”
However Sutton rued Wiggins’s decision not to compete in the individual pursuit in Glasgow last Friday, having ridden within the world record pace during pre-Games training in Manchester.
He said: “The only disappointment for me, looking at the data from training, was that he didn’t ride the IP. The pace he was doing in training, it was there for him to take.
“He hadn’t done enough specific work to know what the outcome would be. But when you’re born with that greatness he’s got, you can pick and choose, and line yourself for long-term goals.”