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Wiggins to quit major road racing in 2014

Stephen Farrand
August 19, 2013, 11:49,
August 19, 2013, 13:01
Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 19, 2013
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) continues his search for form

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) continues his search for form

  • Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) continues his search for form
  • Bradley Wiggins (sky)
  • Bradley Wiggins (Sky)

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Briton plans to target the track at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that he will ride with Team Sky for one more year before focusing on the track and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with Great Britain. He has conceded that he will never again target overall success at the Tour de France and knows he will have to play a 'super domestique' role in support of Chris Froome if he rides the Tour de France for a final time in 2014.

Wiggins finished 91st at the Eneco Tour, opting to finish in the peloton on most days. He targeted the 13.2km time trial stage but finished fifth on the twisting technical course. He has already put on several kilogrammes as he beefs up for the world championship time trial in Tuscany and admits he will never return to being the skinny stage race rider of recent years.

"I'm going to continue to the next Olympics and try for a fifth gold on the track. That's the plan," Wiggins told The Times newspaper in a major interview published in Monday.

"Having lost weight and muscle the last few years, I wouldn't be able to walk back into that team pursuit squad, so I'm not taking it for granted, but I am working towards that. It would be nice to finish the career with another Olympic gold."

Wiggins was not selected to ride this year's Tour de France due to the knee injury that forced him out of the Giro d'Italia. He admits it was not easy to miss riding the 100th edition of the Tour as defending champion but accepts that Chris Froome has now proven he is a Tour de France winner, who could dominate the race for the next few years.

"I don't mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me. He is a much better climber, he can time-trial well. He has age on his side, he has no kids. That's fine."

"If Chris wants to, he could potentially win five Tours now. So if I want to win another Tour, I'd probably have to leave the team." Would he leave? "No," he said. "I love this team. This is my home. I'm not going to go, 'I want to be the leader still, so I'm off.'"

Wiggins said he would "love to go back to the Tour" next summer and "do a job as a super-domestique" and "maybe win a time-trial stage" but he also questions openly whether "there is a place for me on that team". He will be 34 next April and knows he will have to fight for his place in the Team Sky Tour de France squad. Even if Froome misses the Tour through injury, Wiggins would not be able to step in and go for overall victory.

"Because of the work I am doing. I am p****** on my chances for that," he said.

"I can't put all this weight on and then suddenly lose muscle and do GC again. Anyway, the next person in line, the natural successor, is Richie Porte. He really is the next one who could potentially win the Tour."

Bad blood with Froome

Chris Froome often describes the alleged tension between him as Wiggins as something stirred up by the media but Wiggins admitted their spat caused the spilling of a lot of bad blood. Things reached a low point before the Giro d'Italia when the two took swipes at each about Tour de France leadership in interviews. Wiggins has now had time to reflect on his career and his future while missing the Tour de France.

"I know that at the last press conference I gave before the Giro, saying that caused quite a stir from Chris's camp. I remember at the start of the Giro, there was a lot of s***, and, to be honest, it affected me," he said.

When Team Sky opted to back Froome as team leader and for the future, Wiggins was forced to do a lot of soul searching.

"At that point it was clear," he said. "We've got this 28-year-old guy [Froome] who looks like he can dominate for the next few years and they are going to back him. Then there's me: 32, knocking on a bit. In a sense I kind of accept that," he said.

Wiggins described himself as being "in an acceptance phase, tussling with events, his past, his ambitions, the reality of the present and his ego.

"There was a lot of reflection. A lot of it is just ego," he explained, suggesting he has now accepted how things are.

"I was thinking: 'You know what, I am quite happy with my lot. I've achieved everything I want to achieve. I am good at what I am good at; I am good at the odd time-trial. I've already won the Tour de France, no one can take that away from me.'"

He is now able to put his 2012 Tour de France and Froome replacing him as team leader at Team sky into perspective.

"You can look at it two ways. You can go: 'F****** hell, he's got my crown.' Or, you can think: 'You know what, this race is unbelievable. I did this last year. How did I do it?'

"A year ago, I took everything in my stride, but a year later, you are on the outside watching it and it is inspiring in some ways, watching the guys doing what they were doing. And in a way I was like: 'I'm glad I'm not there because it looks bloody hard.'"


colnago200 More than 1 year ago
Super Domestique? Im a fan of Wiggo - but given his form this year and his desire to focus more on the track - he will be fetching jackets and bottles not dropping other riders on the climbs while assisting Froome!
mandeep gulati More than 1 year ago
I don't think he has the super-domestique material. Porte and others can fill that gap, but it's best for Brad to focus on track if he wants to stay a leader. Sky has quite a few leaders-wannaby who may not fare best 'domestiquing'...
fantastic_dan More than 1 year ago
I agree - he cannot be a super-domestique unless he loses that weight he gained. He could, however, be a powerhouse in the flats. I'll bet Movistar were wishing they had a guy like that at this year's tour.
HeadPack More than 1 year ago
Or he could give the classics a shot. With that kind of build and power Cancellara won't ride away from him that easily. Some success there might round up his career quite nicely. Hope he considers this.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
I don't want to be too critical of those who want him to do more, but can't you read between the lines? He is not a machine that we can re-purpose to suit our pleasures. He is a man who has increasingly let us know that he is tired and ready for change. He is looking at his career as a retrospective. He has lost the fire in his belly which is the primary fuel for the engine. I will be a superhuman achievement to hang on until Rio. He is displaying all symptoms of our heros as they linger before fading out. There is no shame. He is a cycling great.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
"It will be a superhuman achievement...
wheel chaser More than 1 year ago
Good read bikerbruce, mentally the desire isn't there and that effects everything you do physically.
Peter von More than 1 year ago
I think he means super domestique in the same way Cancellara used to be for CSC back in the days, he's got a huge engine, a good technical rider and he got experience and a strong presence in the pack. That being said, they've already got a strong set of much younger riders with similar skills with in Stannard, Hagen and G and even if they are not quite as strong as Wiggo, they are very strong and they are probably better as a team. So i don't think SKY would gain a whole lot if Wiggins stepped into the Tour team, but they should test it in some spring races before they make their final decision.
dslacker More than 1 year ago
He may have the physical attributes needed to be a super domestique, but one bad day in a major tour and he's in a snit and completely unable mentally to stay with the leaders. He had a great 2012 and let's wish him well in Rio 2016 on the track.
Jordan Oroshiba More than 1 year ago
"Good Technical Rider" -- did you see him descending in the Giro?
Pedal Pusher More than 1 year ago
@bikerbruce - sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Wiggins doesn't cut the Mustard as a GC rider. He won the TDF in 2012 because the parcours suited ITT's and his team had better riders than him. The Giro exposed his inability to descend in tricky conditions, ride in the wet, climb in the wet and to do well unless his team were better riders than most of the pelaton. He would be lucky to be in the top 20 GC contenders at the moment. A true GC rider has to be able to do more than TT.
CopycatDan More than 1 year ago
Well you don't explain his third place while at Garmin?
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
I find his honesty engaging.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
The Wiggo haters are out - watch out! Three thumbs down already and counting. You really can't accept that I think what I wrote, or you just like to take an anonymous swipe at Wiggins?
chechu More than 1 year ago
How on earth can anyone hate Wiggo. he is like the Mo Farah of cycling. Glad he will earn a bit of extra pocket money before he goes
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
P.S. I see things are looking up. I am grateful for the change of balance.
dslacker More than 1 year ago
It's pathetic that you feel the need to keep track of your thumbs up and down - and that you think that reaction to your posts somehow is as important as anything to do with professional cycling. Please return to reality.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Thank you my friend for pointing that out. Best wishes.
longshadow More than 1 year ago
wrinklballs... you constantly mention "anonymity". why don't you be the first and unveil all your personal information?
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
longshadow - I am embarrassed that you should pay so much attention to my previous posts that you feel the need to have a go, though perhaps you are encouraged by my previous amusement at your wrinklyballs invention! I send myself up enough without that help! It's not about me. I don't want to be discussing me. It's about the cycling and preferably fair comment. As I think you know, I just feel that on a site such as this where people don't have to say who they are they still have certain responsibilities. You don't have to share my opinion. I don't care. Despite dslacker's contribution above, I am pleased to see from the balance of comments on this news item that after a shaky start more people seem inclined to appreciate Wiggo than those who want to express adverse comment. That's good and healthy for the sport. Let's leave it at that.
longshadow More than 1 year ago
obfuscation if i've ever heard it.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Sorry I made it too difficult to understand ;-)
Ripper More than 1 year ago
This was a refreshing interview from Wiggs. Obviously a fair bit of honesty in it.
philjthommo More than 1 year ago
The issue from how i see it is he is not 'honest' in his assessment of the situation. Froome was the outright leader going into the Tour as stated by Team Sky in Feb and then prior to the Giro Wiggo's start spouting about how 'whoever has the form will lead' and 'it is not set in stone' of which Team Sky and Froome come out and condemn his assessment. Now he comes out and says 'possibly Froome is a better GT rider than me' and it really affected me the talk in the media.. . . . He was the one who started it. I can't stand his arrogance these days.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Well, there's the difference between us. I can see Wiggins mature as a rider and as a person, as I am a little more than twice his age and entitled to take a longer view than Wiggins could when he lost his chance to challenge for the Tour this year. His comments in this interview show an acceptance of how things have changed, wheres previously there was disappointment. Would you not have been disappointed? In many ways Froome still has the brash edge of youth about him. He did so on the leadership issue, even when Wiggins was the incumbent. He grows more likeable just as Wiggins himself mellows. I don't think Wiggins should be criticised for what he may have said in the past, especially under stress. He still has ambition, that's clear. I wish him well.
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
I agree... it's a bit revisionist... but at least he's dealing with reality now..
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Thanks ! And I do believe, Terrence, that you are mellowing too ;-)
Lightening Toke More than 1 year ago
Oops! I hit the thumbs down button, wrinkleyvet. You went from 13 to 12. Apologies.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
I am glad you are entertained! ;-)
kevinzamora More than 1 year ago
How about an ITT gold medal for the olympics? He's gotta point in that it's gonna be difficult to get in the olympic squad with his stage race GC contender body (not to mention his age), staying in the road for the TTs seems like a more realistic objective and much better paid...
TANK91 More than 1 year ago
Lol he won the god damn Olympics last year man
Sam Birkinshaw More than 1 year ago
Before trolls start hating on Wiggins and accusing his decision of defeatism or his age, dont. I'm glad he's going back to the track. We would only ever see wiggins going for the odd stage and playing a domestique role for his next 5 years. However, now he's going back to the track he'll put a lot of work into maintaining BC's dominance on the track. He's expressing his versatility. I don't think any other rider has had as much success as he has over two disciplines. Sure, there's the odd world champion MTB/CX rider but he's won olympic medals everywhere. Good on him, may be soon become Lord Wiggins when his career is long over and he's inspired a generation of talent and mini-Wiggo's!
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
I go along with you all the way, but he is sufficiently embarrassed with the knighthood not to want more than that, I am sure! In any event, this is not the time to be talking about it. The influence Wiggo has had on the sport and the general development of cycling in Britain cannot be over-rated, as it is immense. Good luck to him.
philjthommo More than 1 year ago
The thing i don't get about Wiggo lovers is why is becoming a domestique seem to be below him? Froome did it for 3 GT for Wiggo. If you are not the best in the team then you work for the leader, no?
wainy83 More than 1 year ago
How many Tour de France winners can you name that have returned to the race after their victory as a domestique to others?
deemfingtee More than 1 year ago
bjarne riis
Ric Morris More than 1 year ago
Because he's a champion. That's pretty much why he's entirely unsuited to being no more than a superdom. The Brits do get the TDF, for a lot more an Olympic gold is a bigger deal.
Jajabeers More than 1 year ago
What a waste of talent.He should be continuing with his stage racing.It was bad luck in the Giro that brought him to this decision & Froome's success this year.He's got nothing to prove on the track as he's been there & done it.Good luck to him though as he's a champion in whatever he does!
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
It wasnt just bad luck in the Giro. He was dropped many times in different kind of weather, not just rain
mandeep gulati More than 1 year ago
Chris lost it last year mainly because he was reigned in during the climbs. I don't think Brad could've won it last year if it wasn't for Chris. he may be great at TT, but Chris wasn't bad at TT and has been pretty god in the climbs. Given a free reign, Chris had the possibility of winning, as he showed it this year. On the good side, it's good to see Brad admitting that Chris is better on the climbs. There's been a lot of blood spilt between the two, I guess it's best for the two to part ways and focus on separate things. One thing for sure, their rivalry has been good to the sport as a whole, and has brought in many new riders (or wannabees) in UK and the world.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Though you are right generally, especially about the influence on the sport, Chris did not lose it last year, as it wasn't his to win. Wiggins was Sky's protected team leader and Chris had the duty to support him, which he duly fulfilled (and about which he probably received a reminder). Do we have to go back over who should have won that year? (By the way you mean "reined in")
sck451 More than 1 year ago
(And free rein -- pet grammar peeve.)
Matt Hergert More than 1 year ago
I have never thought of that phrase in the correct way before. Quite interesting. I did not expect to learn proper grammar in a cycling comment board. Thanks.
Crampandgoslow More than 1 year ago
Wiggins & Froome 2012 = Hinault & Lemond 1985. It doesn't take much imagination to see that Froome was the stronger rider in last year's Tour. His problem was the "protected team leader" BS.
chrisdwyer More than 1 year ago
I'm not convinced it is BS. You have to have a team order. Wiggins had proved his form building up to the tour. I'm also not convinced that Froome could have gained the time in the hills that he last in the TT's to Brad. But it's a moot point. Wiggins was the leader, and he won. Job done. I believe that Sky recognised how great the impact of that win would be. Not just for them but for Cycling in Britain generally. With that in mind they were going to back the on-form rider, who just happened to be a bit of a national hero. The legacy of which was going to inspire generations of Briton's to get on their bike. It was also needed to guarantee the continued funding Team Sky, but more importantly of cycling throughout the UK.
Broth3r More than 1 year ago
"He has no kids." Come on, that's a cheap shot.
Sabino More than 1 year ago
No yours was the "cheap shot". Dont just pick out what you want to quote. He said "He is a much better climber, he can time-trial well. He has age on his side, he has no kids. That's fine." BIG difference. But doesn't make him look the way you want him to! Brad obviously finds it hard leaving his wife and kids for long periods.
sck451 More than 1 year ago
Why? If you don't have a young family, you're going to have more flexibility and will to put in the time and hard work necessary to win a GT. He's saying that, for him, there's more to life than cycling -- all power to him. That point may come for Froome one day; I think it's the mark of a decent human being.
BackSeatRider More than 1 year ago
I am assuming you don't have children otherwise you would understand where he is coming from.
Jesus from Cancun More than 1 year ago
I have followed Wiggo since his early track days. I was amazed by his growth as a road rider that took him all the way to the dream of anyone who races bikes on the road: winning the Tour de France. His public image has had ups and downs. King of the track, TDF surprise challenger with Garmin, then a villian under many fans' eyes when he switched to Sky. Many people didn't notice how he extended his last season with Garmin to work as a domestique in the late season races. I saw it as a show of gratitude towards his soon to be ex-teammates. He didn't need to do it, but he helped his teammates get some wins while other GT contenders were already in holidays. And still, there was all this talk about him 'betraying' Garmin to go with Sky for the money. Then, when he targeted a Tour de France that seemed to be tailor made for him, fans seemed to praise him as he won preparation races one after another. But during and after the Tour de France there was all this talk comparing him to Armstrong and all the negative that can be said about him and his team. Exciting racing or not, he won the Tour in dominating fashion. Only his own teammate made him show a moment of weakness, but the win was his no matter what. By then he had already reached most of his goals, if not all. He had luck on his side; he reached his peak form as a GT contender just in time to do the most time trialist-friendly Tour in years. But the Tour de France is not designed like that every year. I liked this interview and all his answers. Big change versus the "I will be the leader" arguments months ago. He already did what any pursuit rider could have ever dreamed off. I hope he can top it off with a ITT world championship, and then, we'll see. Another Olympic gold would be a grand finale for a great career.
philjthommo More than 1 year ago
Well balance assessment. Thumbs up from me.
hargrace More than 1 year ago
I certainly sympathise with Brad about the children part. I have a very young family and refuse to leave them on the weekends when my club to do long rides preferring very early morning 3hr turbo sessions instead so I understand that part. But as much as I am British and very proud of what he achieved last year it boils down to ONE GOOD SEASON AND THATS IT. He was fantastic last year but this year and indeed the previous seasons he was a very good rider but nothing more. And I think deep down we all know that his win was Lucky in a sense that the course favoured him and he had very little challenges from his riders with a few key ones missing, and if we all put our hands on our hearts we would all say that had Froome been allowed to race would have destroyed Brad in the mountains and hung on in the time trials to win. You may recall Froome riding for wiggo at the 11 vuelta and losing victory because wiggings just didnt have it..? But I will agree that he has been an excellent servant for Pro cycling and wish him luck for the track.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Nice about the family matter. Not very fair about the one good season. What about everything else he has achieved. Was it worthless in your eyes?
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
"He was fantastic last year but this year and indeed the previous seasons he was a very good rider but nothing more." - hargrace Do you think 'very good rider' means 'worthless results'?? hargrace is right about Wiggins, as he was a good rider in previous seasons, but, by all means, his 2012 season was outstanding compared to other seasons, where he won a TT/prologue once in a while, but never a stage race. - 2011: crashed out of TDF, finished 3rd in vuelta after being served perfectly to the win - 2010: didnt achieve anything big, was way behind in TDF - 2009: 4th place in the TDF, nothing more achieved that year
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
OK , ignore the track Olympic golds, why don't you? No interest in them, obviously. Another person for whom, like Armstrong, nothing but the Tour de France matters?
Ripper More than 1 year ago
I think that is because the focus of the conversation was on the road. I.e. he only had one outstanding road season. Of course he has a history as a track rider, which is where he says he is now returning.
BigFatCoward More than 1 year ago
One good Season? ignoring his track stuff - his 2011 was thus, won the Dauphine, had very good chance at TDF without the crash, finished 3rd in the Vuelta, buried himself to help Cav win the World road race and then took a silver in the World TT, finished the year as the number 9 ranked rider in the world. lets hear about your best year, at anything!
micmatt313 More than 1 year ago
For an elite athlete (rather than a punter) it must be astounding how fast and how far the benchmark can shift. 5 years ago a brit winning the tour was scoffed at in most media -' where is the talent?', ' you can't replicate the controlled environment of the track onto the road, never mind a 3 week GT'. And then it happened, and then it happened again. Now Wiggins' unprecedented performances in 2012 rate the status of 'a good season', and everything he (and by inference most other british male professional cyclist) achieved before that downgraded proportionally. But he shouldn't let it get him down, give it 10 years or so and nostalgia will kick in and he'll be a national hero again; on tv telling us about the golden years of british cycling, maybe a guest column in the broadsheets or a slot on radio 6 introducing a new generation to mod?
sickboy More than 1 year ago
Typical lazy Brit only after the money in the easiest way. You can now go to the local pub Bra'ley!
DAVE P More than 1 year ago
Lazy??????!!!! You try being at the top of your game for an hour nevermind the years of work he has put in3 olympics, 1 tour & not mentioning the stage races he won in 2012 in his build up to the tour. That's not lazy that's f****** awesome. Armstrong was lazy, taking to PED's to win instead of hard work.
oldcrank More than 1 year ago
I'm sensing you don't understand how "easy" it will be to ride a 3min 50sec team pursuit. which is what it will take to win Gold in Rio. (If you were being "ironic" in your post, then I apologize).
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Isn't it ironic that those who require perfection from others display intolerance ignorance and prejudice themselves? Include me if you like.
David Martinsen More than 1 year ago
if he was only after money, he would hardly go back to the track, would he?
cothercott More than 1 year ago
chrisdwyer More than 1 year ago
You sir, are a buffoon. I call you out, handbags at dawn. What do you mean typical lazy Brit? I assume you are implying that most Brits are lazy? Well fcuk you!
stravaface More than 1 year ago
Obvious troll is obvious. I'm surprised so many people bit this bait.