Three-time Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins has denied reports that appeared during the Tour de France suggesting that he will not compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in his home city of London. “I don’t know where that’s come from. I am riding in London definitely,” he told Cyclingnews as he prepared to make his return to racing at the Tour of Britain.
“I’m going back onto the track programme this winter with a view to riding the World Cup in Manchester in February,” the Sky team leader explained. “Long-term that’s the first step towards going for the team pursuit squad for London 2012. I have to do the London Olympics. I need that for myself. Winning another gold in London would be immense.”
Wiggins believes that racing the 2012 Tour in July will set him up perfectly for the team pursuit event in London just a few weeks later. “I’ll still do the Tour and then go straight to the Olympic programme. That’ll be the idea and I’m sure Geraint [Thomas] will do the same,” said Wiggins.
“I’ll definitely do both. But that’s not really for me to worry about with it all being in house as it were with Dave Brailsford and his team,” he added. “They’re running both ships and whatever they tell me to do I will do basically. It’s not like I have to convince my pro team to let me go back and join British Cycling.”
Although he said it is unlikely that he will be one of the faces of the 2012 Games, in spite of being a Londoner and three-time gold medallist, Wiggins insisted cycling’s profile in the United Kingdom is rising and will continue to do so. “Cycling’s getting huge in this country now.
"Ten years ago you would never have found yourself walking into the Adidas Performance store on Oxford St and being able to buy a cycling jersey, let alone a British team cycling jersey, and that just shows you how far it’s come. It’s quite incredible really,” said Wiggins.
He admitted that he’s also been impressed with the increasingly large numbers of British fans travelling to the Tour de France as a result of the growing impact British riders are having on the road. “The support this year on the Tour was fantastic. They didn’t care whether you were a success or a failure, they were just out there getting behind this team,” he said.
“There was a patriotic feel to the support. It was almost like you get with a football team. They were there for us during the whole race and really got into it, which was fantastic to see in our first year,” he added. “So it’s quite exciting to think where we will be in five years time in terms of support for Team Sky.”
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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