The long goodbye: Wiggins says he might delay retirement, keep racing in 2017
A host of career retrospectives and retirement pieces have already been written about Bradley Wiggins, with his leaving of Team Sky being used as justification, but the British rider has said he could keep racing for some time yet.
Wiggins left Sky after Paris-Roubaix, transferring to the eponymous Team Wiggins. He said that his new focus was track racing, although he would use road events to build condition and as possible intermediate targets. He broke the UCI hour record in June and is working towards the a successful track campaign in the 2016 Olympics.
Having initially said that he would retire after the Games, he said recently that he might continue until the end of 2016. Now, speaking to the Guardian, he has suggested he could continue beyond that point.
“I will see how I feel this time next year,” he stated. “There might be other opportunities. They might ask me to present Match of the Day. [But] if I haven’t got a job by [this time] next year I will keep racing.”
After the Olympics the Tour of Britain is on his wish list, as well as six day races in London and Gent, where he was born.
“I want to keep racing until the end of the year rather than stop in Rio,” he stated. “I’ve been loving riding this year, it’s been like a breath of fresh air.”
Even after he steps back from regular competition, he floats the idea of riding occasional events with Team Wiggins – ‘like player-manager,” he states.
However, despite a stated intention to keep on competing, it appears a return to the hour record is not on the cards.
When Wiggins took on that challenge last June 7, he covered 54.526 kilometres, comfortably surpassing the previous best of 52.937 kilometres. This had been set by compatriot Alex Dowsett five weeks earlier.
However unfavourable atmospheric pressure on the day slowed him. He believes that had this not been the case, that it would have been possible to have broken the 55 kilometre barrier.
Despite a greater track focus and the temptation of trying to raise the record further, he now rules this out.
“Now it’s all about the focus for Rio, so it’s looking like never again,” he states. “The time to do it would be now, but my body shape is changing for the team pursuit and it’s gone further away from what it should be for the Hour.”
“I have to accept that the Hour was what it was, a record of its time. There is a tinge of disappointment as I wanted to go past 55 kilometres and get past Tony Rominger’s record [of 55.291km] if conditions had been different.
“The record is beatable and it will be beaten but another 700 metres would have made people think twice.”