Bradley Wiggins says he will retire from the road at the end of the 2014 season and return to the track in a bid to win a fifth Olympic gold medal.
Wiggins enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012 but has endured a tumultuous 2013, abandoning the Giro d’Italia and subsequently missing the Tour de France, won by team-mate Chris Froome.
However, Wiggins returned to the peloton at the Tour of Poland last month, where he won the final stage. Now the 33-year-old wants to see out the final year-and-a-half of his contract with Team Sky before bringing the curtain down on his career by standing on the top step of the podium as part of Great Britain’s team pursuit quartet at Rio 2016.
“It would be nice to finish the career with another Olympic gold,” Wiggins, who learnt his craft on the track by winning three Olympic gold medals and six World Championship titles before focusing on the road, told The Times.
“Having lost weight and muscle the last few years I wouldn’t be able to walk back into the team pursuit squad, so I’m not taking anything for granted, but I am working towards that.”
Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France last year and followed that triumph with victory in the Olympic time trial at London 2012 just 11 days later.
However, with Froome now installed as Team Sky’s number one rider, the 33-year-old Wiggins admits he is unlikely to win another Grand Tour but hinted he would like to ride the Tour de France once more as a domestique before handing up his cleats.
“I don’t mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me,” said Wiggins.
“He is a much better climber, he can time-trial well. [At 28] he has age on his side, he has no kids, that’s fine. If Chris wants to, he could potentially win five Tours now.
“So if I want to win another Tour, I would probably have to leave the team. I love this team. This is my home. I’m not going to go, ‘I want to be the leader still, so I’m off.'”
Wiggins has therefore reset his goals, starting with the Tour of Britain on September 15-22, before the Olympic champion will bid to add world time trial gold to his palmares in Florence on September 25.
Wiggins wants to put on a stone in weight before arriving in Italy as he reshapes his body to become a time trial specialist and, even if Froome were to be unable to defend his Tour title in 2014, Wiggins believes Richie Porte would be next in line to lead Team Sky.
“Because of the work I am doing I am p*****g on my chances for that,” he said.
“I can’t put all this weight on and then suddenly lose muscle and do the GC again. Anyway, the next person in line, the natural successor, is Richie Porte. He really is the next one who could potentially win the Tour.”