Bradley Wiggins said on Friday that he will pull out of this month's World Championships road race and will focus instead on the individual time trial in Mendrisio, Switzerland. While he refused to be drawn on speculation that has linked him with a move to Team Sky, the Garmin rider said he had started to consider his objectives for next season.
"[The Worlds] is the kind of race you don’t go into half-heartedly, it's a tough race and a really hard course," he said at a press conference at Garmin's British headquarters in Southhampton on Friday. "I think there are other people that can probably do a better job than me on the day, so I'd rather hold my hands up and give that spot to someone else."
Wiggins said that the Worlds time trial has been his primary objective since finishing fourth overall in this year's Tour de France. He said his decision to pull out of the road race had been made after speaking to compatriot and Garmin teammate David Millar, who is expected to be one of British team's main hopes for the 262 kilometre race.
"David Millar told me he'd be alright on his own [at the Worlds] so I'm probably going to pull out of the road race now. I don't really fancy 19 laps of the Worlds course. There are a lot of people vying for the nine positions [on the team] and I don't want to take a spot just for the sake of taking a spot."
Wiggins refused to comment on rumours linking him with a move to Team Sky for 2010, but did indicate that his thoughts have turned towards his preparation and racing programme for next season.
"I have already started planning for next year; I've got a rough outline of what I think I need to do. I think the plan is just to keep the ball rolling without reflecting too much on this year," he said. "Stage one for me this year was the Tour [de France], but the Tour's long gone now and everyone knows what happened, so we could keep talking about it for the next year or two and never really get anything else done. I'll just put it behind me and focus on next year."
For now, Wiggins will remain focused on the World Championships. Winner of the British national time trial title last weekend, Wiggins' preparations for the Worlds time trial will continue this week at the Tour of Britain. "I feel I'll probably fall into more of a team role at this race. The first few stages tend to arrive in sprint finishes and a lot of teams will be looking for those sprints. Chris [Sutton] is dying for a win so we'll have a chance to maybe set something up for him."
Wiggins, whose last stage race was the Eneco Tour last month, said he would look to the second half of the eight-stage race to make his bid for the overall title. "It'll probably be at least two or three days before the real selection goes. That may be as late on as the Blackpool stage [stage four – Ed.], which I know the roads quite well and there's some pretty tough hills in there. Hopefully there'll be some sprints in the first few days, which will allow me to ease into the race before the main selection goes."
After the Tour of Britain, Wiggins will then head to Switzerland for the World Championships. He will close his season in Australia, where he will race for Garmin at the Jayco Sun Tour, October 11-17.
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