This is no Christmas weight gain fuelled by mince pies and turkey, but a carefully calculated change in physique to build muscle to cope with the demands of the team pursuit.
The 35-year-old posted a photo on Instagram on Saturday of his weight readout, comparing it to one he says was taken during the Tour of California in May 2014, which he won overall. His current weight is 83.2kg compared to 71.75kg in May 2014, a difference of 11.45kg.
“2.1.2016 v’s 12.05.2014 at the my last G.C win at the Amgen Tour of California. 7 months hard work in the gym with the help of a great team at British Cycling making gains for the Team Pursuit,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins is well known for his ability to change his physiology in order to adapt to differing cycling challenges, something which has helped him claim seven Olympic medals – four of them gold – and become the first British rider to win the Tour de France.
Wiggins weighed 82kg when he rode in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and dropped to 72kg when he started the Tour de France the following July. His appearance in the 2009 Tour saw him place fourth (later altered to third after Lance Armstrong’s disqualification), and show that he could be a serious Tour contender.
Now, eight years later, the process has once again been reversed, and Wiggins has switched back to his Beijing physique. The 2008 Games were the last Olympics where Wiggins appeared on the track, having won the road time trial in 2012 after his Tour victory.
In the intervening years since Beijing, the team pursuit has become faster – to the point where the Great Britain team even experimented with using former track sprinter Jason Queally in 2010. The discipline now requires more power over four kilometres, as well as endurance.