Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Off-Road Wiggins Pulls the Plug on Grand Tour to Focus on Rio

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Off-Road Wiggins Pulls the Plug on Grand Tour to Focus on Rio

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie in Glasgow

SIR BRADLEY WIGGINS has effectively sounded the death knell for his road-racing career so he can become the most successful British Olympian of all time.

The 2012 Tour de France winner is ready to turn his back on what he called the "cut-throat" nature of the road in a bid to claim gold in the men's team pursuit at the Olympics in two years' time.

Wiggins had previously intimated he still wanted to ride a grand tour at one stage September's Vuelta had been discussed as a possible target after being omitted from Team Sky's Tour de France line-up or at least target one-day races such as Paris-Roubaix.

But the 34-year-old is adamant his sole focus is now on a return to the velodrome, where he made his name. "The priority will have to be the track," said the Londoner. "The road will have to take a back seat. We'll use the road to complement it. I think that will be it for grand tours. With what it's going to take to get up to speed with these guys, I can't imagine doing that. Been and done it this has to take priority if we want to win gold."

Wiggins is in negotiations with Team Sky about a new contract for next year. Quite what that means with his shifted stance remains to be seen Sky are unlikely to continue to pay his high wages if he has little aspiration to compete on the road.

That said, the seven-time Olympic medallist a record he holds with Sir Chris Hoy has been known for the occasional volte face so his position over his track and road quandary could yet alter again. But Wiggins gave the impression of having grown jaded by the requirements of the road.

"I've done the road and bled it dry," he said. "I've stopped enjoying it. It has become so political. There's so much more red tape. It's quite cutthroat really and as we've seen this year there's no loyalty in cycling and it's about putting up the strongest guys to win a bike race. …

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