Disappointing, but not surprising, Bradley Wiggins has indicated that he will take step back from road racing, and turn his focus more toward track racing.
Just hours after winning the silver medal in the team pursuit at this year’s Commonwealth Games, Wiggins told the media that any road racing in the future will “have to compliment what I want to do on the track.”
“The road will have to take a back seat, we will use the road to compliment it but the priority will be the track. I said at the end that it would probably be the end for grand tours,” he told the media. “I can’t imagine doing that with what it’s going to take to get up to speed with these guys. I’ve kind of been and done it, thanks God, this has to take priority if we want to take golds.”
Wiggins said, that in order to focus on a training program geared toward the "track", he would have to undergo physical changes; specifically, the need to gain more weight.
This comes as a surprise, since Wiggins recently stated that he had signed a new contract with Team Sky. However, his new declarations, surely brings that into question.
"Team Sky has become so competitive now and winning grand tours and places are scarce. Whether or not they have a place for an ex-grand tour winner to just use the racing to prepare for the track. That’s to be discussed and we’re in discussions at the moment about it,” said Wiggins.
“I want to make sure that I build the road programme around it. I don’t want to miss things on the track because of my commitments on the road so it would have to compliment what I want to do on the track.”
Wiggins began his career as a track racer – becoming the British national champion, along with Rob Hayles in 1999. He made his road debut in 2001 with the Linda McCartney team. However, he would continue to focus heavily on the track, later winning three Olympic Gold medals and six world titles, before deciding to switch his focus to road racing at the end of 2008.
Wiggins immediately showed signs of promise, when he finished 4th in the 2009 Tour de France – and was later awarded third when Lance Armstrong was disqualified.
Later on however, Wiggins would develop a frosty relationship with his teammate Chris Froome, after rivalry between them unfolded during his 2012 Tour de France bid. Wiggins said this clash and others like it, have been a factor in his decision to push road racing to one side.
“I’ve kind of done the road and I’ve bled it dry and I don’t enjoy it any more. The road has become so political and so much red tape,” he explained. “The track feels more like a family and a closer knit group of people and you’ve got to work for each other. The road is quite cut throat. As we’ve seen this year there’s no loyalties in cycling, it’s about putting the strongest team forward to win a bike race. That’s fantastic as proven success, but it’s not necessarily the most enjoyable thing. I’ve had my time there and I’ve had success with it but things move on.”
Wiggins confirmed earlier this week that he would not be participating in the road events at the Commonwealth Games. In addition, he is expected to ride in this year’s Vuelta a España, however that may change with his recent announcement to put the "road" behind him.
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