Racing News

Wiggins: Cavendish likely to leave Team Sky

Tour de France and Olympic time trial champion Bradley Wiggins believes Mark Cavendish should leave Team Sky if the Manx Missile wants to continue the success he has enjoyed in his career to date.

Mark Cavendish played second fiddle to Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France

“On a personal level I have enjoyed riding with him this year and I enjoy his company, but I understand why he would probably have to leave,” said Wiggins.

Cavendish joined Team Sky ahead of the 2012 season and was part of the line-up that helped Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour but saw his own opportunities limited with Team Sky focussed on Wiggins’ yellow jersey campaign.

Cavendish still claimed three stage wins to take his overall tally to 23 but the return was his lowest since his Tour de France debut in 2007.

The sprinter, who had enjoyed the full support of  HTC-Highroad before the team disbanded last year,  is locked into a three year contract but Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford has previously hinted the team will allow Cavendish to leave if he desires – and Wiggins admits Cavendish will have to move to another team if he wants to advance his career.

“I love seeing him win as much as anyone else and to see Mark back out on the Tour winning six, seven or eight different stages and challenging for the green, he probably has to go,” added Wiggins.

“At Sky we have set a precedent now. If we’re going to dominate cycling and win three Grand Tours in a year, we have to start building to that GC thing.

“Unfortunately for Mark, as we saw in the Tour, the two don’t really go well together. For his own career, I understand why he has to leave, but from a selfish point of view I would like him to stay.”

Wiggins will return to the peloton for the Tour of Britain on September 9-16, an eight-day, 840-mile lap of honour for the 32-year-old and his first competitive action since winning a fourth Olympic gold medal.

“I’m doing the Tour of Britain,” he said. “It’ll be nice. I’ll try to stay fit between now and then so I don’t embarrass myself. It’ll be good.”

Wiggins will turn domestique for the race and will also play a supporting role for Great Britain at the World Championship in September, where he will compete in the road race but not the time trial.

Wiggins launched the Ride with Brad Sportive on Sunday

“I am the Olympic [time trial] champion,” said Wiggins. “That’s the one everyone wants to win.I won’t be doing the time trial. I have a lot of commitments now in the next six weeks and I’m probably not going to be able to give the time to the training that is required to win the gold there.

“I will be there in a supporting role to help the guys in the road race and it is the same with the Tour of Britain. A lot of guys have ridden for me all year and rather than just stop and say ‘I’ve won what I wanted to win’ and go on holiday for six months and get fat, I thought it would be nice to go back there and help the team in those races.”

Wiggins was joined by 1,500 cyclists for the first Ride with Brad Sportive on Sunday, following 100km and 160km routes on some of his favourite training road in Lancashire. The event was the first run in support of the Bradley Wiggins Foundation, launched earlier this year.

“It’s really important for me to be able to put something back into sport, and the Bradley Wiggins Foundation will become my way of inspiring and helping others to achieve their best,” he said. “Supporting and taking part in this event is just the first step in that process.”

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