Bradley Wiggins has dropped the strongest hint yet that he wishes to move from Garmin-Slipstream to Team Sky. The British rider, who is under contract to Garmin-Slipstream for 2010, was speaking to the BBC the day after the men's time trial, when mechanical problems saw him fall out of contention for a medal.
"The Tour de France changed everything," said Wiggins, who equalled the best ever performance by a British rider, finishing fourth in Paris, and admitted that next year he will be aiming to improve on that. "It's like trying to win the Champions League - you need to be at Manchester United but I'm playing at Wigan at the moment, so I have to make that step up."
While speculation has been mounting over Wiggins' possible switch, the rider himself has been ambiguous. During the Tour he used his Twitter site to declare that he would not be joining Team Sky. But the rumours have not gone away, and they have only been fuelled by speculation linking Alberto Contador, the Tour winner, with Garmin-Slipstream.
On the speculation, Wiggins said, "I'll leave it to the experts. It's unfortunate that. I've had a good time this year at Garmin but times have changed. I don't know, the Tour changed everything for me really so we'll see what happens.
"No-one would have imagined I would finish fourth," said Wiggins of his Tour performance. "Going into this year I hoped for success in time trials. I never really imagined I'd be climbing with the best in the Tour. It has changed everything about the future and what I'm capable of achieving.
"I believe I'm capable of getting on the podium - I was inches away from it this time. Next year I'll be stronger. I'll have a bit more self-belief and confidence. It will be very difficult to challenge Alberto Contador. He is an amazing rider but I'll go in the best possible condition and see what happens. I won't go in to finish third. I set off to win the race."
Dave Brailsford, the Team Sky principal, told the BBC that there remain "two or three more spots to fill on our roster, and we have our eyes on a few riders. But key British riders are maybe under contract and we've got to respect that."
Jonathan Vaughters, the Garmin-Slipstream manager, said, "Bradley is an exceptional athlete. We are fortunate that he is under contract with us through 2010."
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