Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky believes he can win the Tour de France next year – if he rides it. The Briton is also pondering how to tackle the Tour-Olympics double, and is concerned about how Mark Cavendish will cope with the two races. It is anticipated that Cavendish is will soon announce that he will ride for Sky in the coming season.
Cavendish is expected to ride for the green jersey at the Tour again next year, and try to win the closing stage on the Champs Elysees for the fourth consecutive year. The problem is that the London Olympics follow very closely upon the Tour, and Cavendish, as well as Wiggins, has his eye on London.
"It's doable," Wiggins said, according to the Guardian newspaper. "But is it doable after the Tour de France, winning the green jersey and all that? I don't think it is, and I think he knows that. There's a lot to think about.
"The Olympic road race is five days after Paris. Someone's going to pay the price for that. Someone like Cav would want to win the stage in Paris and then win the Olympic road race, potentially nailed from the Tour, and it's probably not going to happen for him. So something's got to give, whether that's the green jersey, half the Tour or not even starting the Tour in an attempt to win the Olympic road race."
A possible solution would be for Sky to focus on Wiggins' bid for overall honours at the Tour, leaving Cavendish to focus on the Olympics. "I might not be in their plans, it might be all about Cav and winning the green jersey, in which case I don't go to the Tour," Wiggins said. "I can think I can win the Tour but it still depends on their plans. I've given up worrying about stuff like that."
The 31-year-old crashed out of the Tour de France with a broken collarbone in the first week, but he didn't let it get him down. "It's been a long, long three months since I was lying in the hospital in Chateauroux deciding what to do for the rest of the season," he said.
“And this was that goal: 'Right. I've got 13 weeks until the Worlds, I've got time to heal, time to try to finish off the season with a medal.' I've come away with a lot more than that. I'm really proud of the way I've handled the season as a whole."
Along the way to the Worlds, he rode the Vuelta a Espana, where he finished third, after four days in the leader's red jersey.
The ups and downs of 2011 have led him to the conclusion that he can win the Tour de France. "I've never really believed that. People told me this was what the goal was, but I think for the first time now I believe I can win the Tour next year. And that is a nice, exciting feeling to have."