Bradley Wiggins is not only focusing on track cycling (rather than the road) with a potential fifth Olympics on the horizon, but he is also ready to be done with Grand Tours altogether.
“The road will have to kind of take a backseat, really,” Wiggins told the BBC. “The priority will be the track. … Probably that will be it for Grand Tours [Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana].”
Wiggins, 34, won a silver medal for England in the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday, his first major venture into track cycling since 2008.
He switched to road cycling after the Beijing Olympics, became the first Brit to win the Tour de France in 2012 and captured the London Olympic time trial later that summer. It marked his seventh career Olympic medal, with six track medals from 2000 through 2008.
Wiggins’ relationship with road cycling has turned sour the last two years. Team Sky mate Chris Froome won the 2013 Tour de France, with Wiggins sitting out due to injury, and Wiggins was not selected for this year’s tour. He and Froome are not the best of friends.
“I’ve kind of done the road now,” Wiggins told the BBC. “I’ve bled it dry. I’ve stopped enjoying the road as it has become so political and so much red tape. The track feels much more like a family and a closer-knit group of people, where you’ve got to work for each other, really. The road is sort of quite cut-throat, really.”
The storyline for Wiggins, should he make it to Rio 2016, is simple. Win one medal, and he becomes the most decorated British Olympian ever.
That would seem more likely on the track than on the road, since the velodrome offers the four-man team pursuit in which Great Britain excels. It has made the podium in the team pursuit at the last four Games, three times with Wiggins.
“I just see myself as a bike rider, really,” Wiggins told the BBC. “I don’t see it as a step down [from road to track]. The track is where it all began for me. I’d love it to finish on a high now.”