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Wiggins to quit road for Olympic track return

ESPN staff
August 19, 2013
Wiggins to quit road for track

Sir Bradley Wiggins will target a route back to the Olympic velodrome and a fifth Olympic gold medal when he retires from road racing at the end of the 2014 season.

Wiggins, winner of both the Tour de France and the Olympic time trial in 2012, has accepted that Chris Froome is now Team Sky's leading General Classification rider and believes there is little chance of him wearing the Yellow Jersey again.

And with no interest in riding against Team Sky with another squad, Wiggins has settled on a return to track cycling, where he won seven of his eight Olympic medals, including three golds.

"I'm going to continue to the next Olympics and try for a fifth gold on the track, that's the plan," Wiggins told The Times. "It would be nice to finish the career with another Olympic gold."

It is a swift change in perspective from Wiggins, who remained locked in a frosty leadership battle with Froome ahead of the 2013 Tour de France before illness and injury during the Giro d'Italia ruled the defending champion out of the race.

Froome went on to become Britian's second Tour de France winner in July, but while reports that he had not contacted his successor to congratulate him suggested no thaw in their relationship, Wiggins insists he intends to congratulate Froome in person - and is happy to ride for the man he expects to dominate for the next five years in 2014.

"Rather than me send him some naff little text message, I would rather wait till I see him, genuinely put my hand out and say: 'You know what, that was a f****** good ride,'" Wiggins said.

"I will see him at the World Championships where I will be riding to support him [in the road race]. So this was not me saying: 'I'll never ride for him again.'"

Wiggins' focus at the Worlds remains on the time trial, which will serve as the first step on the road back one-day classics and eventually to the velodrome - a plan that rules out a return to Tour contention, and could even rule him out of future Grand Tour teams.

"I can't put all this weight on and then suddenly lose muscle and do GC again," he said. "Anyway, the next person in line, the natural successor, is Richie Porte. He really is the next one who could potentially win the Tour."

Wiggins admits that the infighting with Froome took its toll on his season, but has come to accept that he is no longer the dominant force that he once was within Team Sky.

"A lot of it is just ego," he said. "I was thinking: 'You know what, I am quite happy with my lot. I've achieved everything I want to achieve. I am good at what I am good at; I am good at the odd time-trial. I've already won the Tour de France, no one can take that away from me.'"

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