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Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
2012 Tour de France champion to focus on the track
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has said that he will take step back from road racing as he looks to close out his career on the track. A couple of hours after taking silver in the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games, Wiggins told reporter Jill Douglas that any road racing he would do would "have to compliment what I want to do on the track."
"The road will have to take a back seat, we will use the road to compliment it but the priority will be the track. I said at the end that it would probably be the end for grand tours," he told the BBC. "I can't imagine doing that with what it's going to take to get up to speed with these guys. I've kind of been and done it, thanks God, this has to take priority if we want to take golds."
Wiggins said that on top of an increased training programme on the track, he would have to make physical changes. The 2012 Tour de France champion explained that the demands of the track would require him to gain weight. His decision comes as a surprise after he recently stated that he had secured a new contract with his road outfit Team Sky. Wiggins admitted that a move to the track may place his position in jeopardy.
"Team Sky has become so competitive now and winning grand tours and places are scarce. Whether or not they have a place for an ex-grand tour winner to just use the racing to prepare for the track. That's to be discussed and we're in discussions at the moment about it," said Wiggins.
"I want to make sure that I build the road programme around it. I don't want to miss things on the track because of my commitments on the road so it would have to complement what I want to do on the track."
Wiggins began his career on the track and became national champion in the Madison, with Rob Hayles, in 1999. He made his road debut in 2001 with the Linda McCartney team. However, he would continue to focus heavily on his track hopes and went on to take three Olympic Gold medals and six world titles on the track before he decided to give it up at the end of 2008. The Brit immediately showed signs of promise and finished fourth in the 2009 Tour de France – he was later awarded third when Lance Armstrong was disqualified.
A fragile character, Wiggins has often struggled with the nature of road cycling. During his 2012 Tour de France title bid, Wiggins fell out with his teammate Chris Froome. His relationship with team Sky has also been tense at times. Wiggins says that these struggles have been a factor in his decision to put road racing to one side.
"I've kind of done the road and I've bled it dry and I don't enjoy it any more. The road has become so political and so much red tape," he explained. "The track feels more like a family and a closer knit group of people and you've got to work for each other. The road is quite cut throat. As we've seen this year there's no loyalties in cycling, it's about putting the strongest team forward to win a bike race. That's fantastic as proven success, but it's not necessarily the most enjoyable thing. I've had my time there and I've had success with it but things move on."
Wiggins confirmed earlier this week that he would not ride the road programme at the Commonwealth Games. His post-games programme is still unconfirmed. He was expected to ride the Vuelta a España, however that may change with his recent declarations.