Bradley Wiggins believes teammate Mark Cavendish has to leave Team Sky to advance his career, the Tour de France winner and Olympic time trial champion said on Sunday.
“On a personal level, I have enjoyed riding with him, but I understand why he would probably have to leave,” Wiggins was quoted as saying in several media reports on Sunday. “I love seeing him win as much as anyone else and to see Mark back out on the Tour [de France] winning six, seven or eight different stages, and challenging for the green jersey, he probably has to go.”
Cavendish, 27, was part of the team that helped Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour, but the Manxman enjoyed just three stage wins as team orders took priority.
He took his number of stage wins to 23 in this year’s Tour, taking him to fourth on the all-time list, but his return was the lowest since his debut in the race back in 2007.
Last year, Cavendish, who still has more than two years left on his Sky deal, had won the green jersey as top sprinter.
Wiggins also said on Sunday that next month he plans to race in the Tour of Britain, regarded as a minor stage race compared with the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, which teammate Chris Froome is currently trying to win.
Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford has stressed that Sky are targeting sustained general classification (GC) wins in those three Grand Tours, which works against sprinter Cavendish, whose strength is on the faster, flatter stages.
“Sky have set a precedent now, if we’re going to dominate cycling and try to win all three Grand Tours,” Wiggins said. “I suppose we have to start building towards the GC and, unfortunately for Mark, as we saw in the Tour, the two don’t really go well together.”
Wiggins starts the eight-stage Tour of Britain in Ipswich, England, on Sept. 9 to say thanks to all his fans for supporting him during his stellar year.
“I’m doing the Tour of Britain now,” the 32-year-old was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “I’ll try to stay fit between now and then so I don’t embarrass myself. It’ll be good.”