Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Sky’s Wiggins to return to velodrome for Rio Games

Reuters

Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Peter Sagan of Slovakia does a wheelie prior to the first stage of the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen, Colorado, on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Bradley Wiggins will retire from road racing after one more season before returning to the velodrome with the goal of adding to his gold medal haul at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I’m going to continue to the next Olympics and try for a fifth gold,” the 33-year-old Briton told the Times newspaper on Monday. “That’s the plan. Having lost weight and muscle the last few years I wouldn’t be able to walk back into that team pursuit squad, so I’m not taking anything for granted, but I am working towards that. It would be nice to finish the career with another Olympic gold.”

The Sky Pro Cycling rider was unable to defend his Tour de France title this year due to injury, with compatriot Chris Froome winning a second title for the British team in his absence.

Wiggins had previously indicated he may never compete in the Tour again, but he said on Monday that he would like to ride it one more time, if selected, and was willing to play second fiddle to Froome.

“I don’t mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me,” Wiggins said. “He is a much better climber, he can time trial well. He has age on his side, he has no kids, that’s fine. If Chris wants to, he could potentially win five Tours now. So if I want to win another Tour, I’d probably have to leave the team. I love this team. This is my home, I’m not going to go: ‘I want to be the leader still, so I’m off.’”

Wiggins won six Olympic track medals, including three golds, before switching to the road after the 2008 Olympics.

He won an individual time trial gold at the London Olympics last year, after his Tour de France success.

Despite that, Sky had thrown its backing for team leader behind 28-year-old Froome, even before Wiggins had to withdraw from Tour contention with a knee injury.

The pair have had a fraught relationship, with Froome reportedly saying recently Wiggins had not congratulated him on his Tour victory.

Wiggins said there was a simple reason for that.

“For a start, this is a pathetic excuse — and it’s not an excuse — but I don’t have his phone number,” he said. “The second thing is, a lot of stuff happened with me and him and his girlfriend, and it was left in a very bad way, and rather than me send him some naff [worthless] little text message, I would rather wait till I see him, genuinely put my hand out and say: ‘You know what, that was a good ride.’”

“That is more genuine than one text message that might get lost in hundreds of others,” Wiggins said. “Obviously, once the press got hold of it, it got chewed up a bit and then it would have been really naff to have sent one, but I will see him at the World Championships where I will be riding to support him. So this was not me saying: ‘I’ll never ride for him again.’”

USA PRO CHALLENGE

AFP, ASPEN, Colorado

Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge on Monday, sprinting to the finish ahead of runner-up Greg van Avermaet.

Sagan, the Tour de France sprint jersey winner this year, finished the 98km stage in 2 hours, 26 minutes. He celebrated the circuit race win between Aspen to Snowmass Village, Colorado, by doing one of his trademark wheelies.

“Maybe I was the favorite for the people, but for me I’m very surprised. I should thank all my teammates because they were on the front,” Sagan said.”We are very happy when we take the victory for the team.”

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