Wiggins turns his back on Tour de France and questions Sky
English pursuit team settle for silver in Glasgow, but it marks start of new chapter for Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins won't compete in the Tour de France again after admitting he is "done” with road racing. The winner of the 2012 Tour was controversially overlooked for this year's event by Team Sky and that decision appears to have left its mark on the 34-year-old. "I've kind of done the road now,” Wiggins told BBC Sport. "I've bled it dry... [so] that will probably be it for the Grand Tours. I can't imagine doing that now."
Wiggins, the leader of Team Sky for many years, was replaced in that role by Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour winner, for this year's race although the decision appeared to backfire when Froome was forced out of the event after a heavy fall.
Though he avoided commenting directly on his demotion, Wiggins admitted he had "had my time" as a road racer. "Things move on and it's natural evolution," he added. He also acknowledged that his team now had other priorities. "Team Sky has become so competitive now and it's all about winning Grand Tours. It's whether they've got a place for an ex-Tour winner to use the racing to prepare for the track."
Wiggins was speaking shortly after his of hopes of adding a Commonwealth Games gold to his four Olympic titles were dashed by Australia at Glasgow's Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome on Thursday evening. Instead he and the English pursuit team had to settle for silver with New Zealand taking bronze in their race-off with Canada.
It was a disappointing result for the English as the Australian team of Jack Bobridge, Luke Davison, Alex Edmondson and Glenn O'Shea set a new Commonwealth Games record of 3min 54.85sec, far superior to England's 4.00.136.
It was sweet revenge for Australia who, at the 2012 London Olympics, finished second to a Great Britain team that included English riders Ed Clancy and Steven Burke.
Two years ago, after winning the Tour de France, Wiggins focused on the time trial at the London Olympics but had hoped to use Thursday's team pursuit as the launchpad for a return to the track at the 2016 Olympics. Instead he was given a harsh lesson in track cycling six years after he last competed in an indoor arena.
"We were all on different levels," admitted Wiggins. Acknowledging they were well beaten by Australia, who also triumphed at this year's World Championships in Colombia, he tried in time-honoured sporting fashion to take a positive from the crushing defeat. "Four weeks ago we sat in a room for the first time in six years and wondered how far we can go," explained Wiggins. "We've had limited preparations for this and hopefully we will look back in two years' time with gold medals around our necks thinking 'this was the starting point in Glasgow'.”
As for his individual performance, Wiggins admitted he has much work to do between now and 2016. "I need to put some muscle on and get stronger,” he said. "It's going to be two years of graft and we can't underestimate how much work we have ahead to get in the right place for Rio."