Grand Tour quest over as Wiggins focuses on track
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — It wasn’t a golden return to track cycling after a six-year absence, and the top Commonwealth Games prize continues to elude Bradley Wiggins.
But despite having to settle for silver in the team pursuit on Thursday after losing out to the Australians in Glasgow, the 2012 Tour de France champion seemed certain that it’s time to leave the road racing to others.
“It’s like being a kid again really,” said Wiggins, who collected golds in the individual and team pursuit at the 2008 Beijing Olympics before winning the time trial on the roads of London in 2012.
“I’ve really enjoyed the (Glasgow) atmosphere and the intensity of it. It’s over in four minutes so it’s really enjoyable.”
So much so that a plan to race in the Spanish Vuelta, which starts on Aug. 23, has been scrubbed. The despair at being dropped by Team Sky for the Tour de France only accelerated the decision to stop chasing Grand Tour titles.
“I certainly answered the question of whether I can still do it or not (on the track),” Wiggins said. “But there’s a lot more room for improvement and that’s going to take more dedication on the track ... I don’t think I’m doing the Vuelta anymore now. So that could be it (for the Grand Tours).”
And so it’s oval races rather than grueling weeks on the road now as Wiggins chases glory in the Rio de Janeiro velodrome at the 2016 Olympics.
“With the commitment it will take to ride track and the speeds we will have to go at, it will take a complete change,” Wiggins said. “You’re already looking at changing body composition and things like that — getting heavier and more explosive — which will hinder climbing in Grand Tours.
“And I don’t relish the idea of riding round in the back group for three weeks having won the Tour.”
Competing with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Andy Tennant in the team pursuit on Thursday, England finished more than five seconds behind Australia.
“We have got our work cut out because they set the standard once again, but we’ve been in that position before and it’s not a bad position to be in,” Wiggins said.
“We’ve got a silver after four weeks together ... we can definitely get stronger.”
The Australian team of Jack Bobridge, Luke Davison, Alex Edmondson and Glenn O’Shea clocked 3 minutes 54.851 seconds to win the Commonwealth title.
“Bradley Wiggins, he’s one of the biggest in cycling,” Edmondson said. “Of course it’s great to come here and take the win over England but you can’t take anything away from him. He’s pretty amazing what he’s done on the track and on the roads.
“You can’t count them out, they are going to come back fighting so we are going to have to go back, refocus and start moving forward towards Rio.”
Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris.