Wiggins eyes Vuelta to prepare for World Championships

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is enjoying life as British champion.

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is enjoying life as British champion. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

After successful surgery on his broken left collarbone, Bradley Wiggins is looking ahead. The Team Sky captain's 2011 Tour de France was brought to an abrupt end on stage 7 following a crash with 35 kilometres left to race. One of the pre-Tour favourites, Wiggins had been sitting quite comfortably in sixth place, 10 seconds back on the then-leader, Thor Hushovd. Now he thinking about other objectives

"All focus on WorldsTT now as the big one for the end of the season with most likely prep being the Vuelta, which will be a first for me," the Brit said on his Twitter feed.

"Only downside being will miss Nat TT and TOB! (Tour of Britain). But something has to give as hadn't planned on crashing out of TDF."

Wiggins had two plates attached to his collarbone to stabilise the fracture and now has six weeks to recover before his first tilt at the third Grand Tour of the season. He has been ruled out of competing in the British National Time Trial Championships, which he has won two years-running given the clash of dates with the Vuelta a Espana (August 20 - September 11). The Tour of Britain then runs September 11-18.

Plans for 2012

Meantime, Wiggins' misfortune and the risk of the Tour de France have fuelled speculation that he and other top-line Brits may miss next year's Tour de France. David Brailsford, boss of both Team Sky and the Great Britain national team, reiterated at a British Olympic Association presentation that the London Olympics is the priority for 2012. As a result Wiggins and other riders could opt to ride the Giro d'Italia and possibly miss the Tour de France.

"The Tour de France is an annual event - albeit the biggest in cycling - so we're very, very respectful of that," he told the BBC. "But 2012 is a once in a lifetime event and there is a big, big opportunity for a British rider and a British team to make sure we're the best prepared we can be for that event.

"Ideally, we'll do both the Tour and the Games. But if there has to be a choice, the focus will be very much on the Games. That's what our partners Sky want us to do and that's what's been clear from day one - it's never been an issue."

Brailsford and the Great Britain team's decision hinges on whether athletes will compete in track events or the Olympic road race, which will take place six days after the conclusion of the Tour de France. Mark Cavendish's Tour, given he will stick to the road in London, is not under threat, but Wiggins could be a different story should he take part in the team's defence of the team pursuit.

Wiggins and Geraint Thomas joined Ed Clancy and Paul Manning to win the event for Great Britain at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, breaking the world record time twice in the process. Brailsford will test both Thomas and Ben Swift following this year's Tour to gauge what their efforts have cost them physically, as an indicator for 2012.

Wiggins told news agency Reuters last month that his Olympic program was still be decided given that he was considering taking on the time trial on the road: "At the moment, I really don't know how it's going to work. I'd like to do the track, I'd like to do the team pursuit," he said.

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