Wiggins will be 36 in April and is expected to end his professional career in the next 12 months, targeting the team pursuit at the Rio Olympics in August. He will then say his farewell in track events such as the London Six and the Gent Six, perhaps only making occasional ‘player-manager’ appearances to raise the profile of his WIGGINS team and help secure sponsorship.
The 2012 Tour de France winner is currently working in the gym to add muscle, speed and power in preparation for the team pursuit. He recently revealed he is aiming to add a total of 16kg to the skinny physique he had when he won the Tour de France. That metamorphosis is the main reason why another Hour Record attempt, even for the so-called Athlete’s Hour using a traditional bike position, is unlikely.
“Now it’s all about the focus for Rio, so it’s looking like never again. The time to do it would be now, but my body shape is changing for the team pursuit and it’s gone further away from what it should be for the Hour,” Wiggins said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.
“I have to accept that the Hour was what it was, a record of its time. There is a tinge of disappointment as I wanted to go past 55 kilometres and get past Tony Rominger’s record [of 55.291km] if conditions had been different. The record (54.526km) is beatable and it will be beaten but another 700 metres would have made people think twice.”
Racing into 2017
Wiggins recently revealed he will ride the Dubai Tour in February and the Tour of California in May as he prepares for the Olympics. He also hinted that he could even race occasionally in 2017 as part of his WIGGINS team, as it helps to develop some of Britain’s best young riders.
“I will see how I feel this time next year,” Wiggins said. “There might be other opportunities. They might ask me to present [BBC football programme] Match of the Day. If I haven’t got a job by next year I will keep racing.”
“I will keep training – I don’t see why I would stop doing that – and I might slip into the odd race that is easy to do, like a player-manager. I don’t know how that will fit into the team’s plans, but what I do know is that the team’s moved forward – we’ve got some good young talent for next year.”
Wiggins is a traditionalist and hopes to complete the circle on his professional career by riding the Gent Six next December. He was born in the Belgian city because his Australia father was based there and also rode the Six Day circuit. Wiggins won the Gent Six in 2003 and local hero Iljo Keisse is keen to ride with him in the 2016 edition.
“I’d love to do London, and go to Gent 17 years after I first rode,” Wiggins confirmed. “It’s another of these little historic things I want to go back and revisit one last time. I want to go there and ride with Iljo Keisse. It’s something we’ve been talking about for 10 years. I want to keep racing until the end of the year rather than stop in Rio.”