Bradley Wiggins remains on British Cycling's Olympic podium programme as he considers future

The 36-year-old five-time Olympic champion has suggested 2016 will be his final year as a competitive cyclist

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The Independent Online

Sir Bradley Wiggins has been retained on the British Cycling Olympic podium programme as he continues to mull over his competitive future in the sport.

The 36-year-old five-time Olympic champion and 2012 Tour de France winner had long suggested 2016 would be his final year as a competitive cyclist but has hinted at possibly continuing in recent weeks.

A British Cycling spokesperson said: "Sir Bradley Wiggins is continuing to consider the direction of his future and we are happy to give him the flexibility to allow him to do that."

The Olympic podium programme is the group of Great Britain riders who benefit from UK Sport funding and support services.

Wiggins is one of eight riders listed in the men's track endurance squad.

He won gold with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Doull at Rio 2016 for his British record eighth medal, describing it as a "fairytale" way to bow out.

A month later Wiggins was embroiled in controversy when data stolen by hackers revealed he and Team Sky had sought and received therapeutic use exemptions for an otherwise banned substance ahead of three major races, including the 2012 Tour when he became the first British winner.

Wiggins and Team Sky strenuously deny wrongdoing over his injections for triamcinolone, insisting they were medically necessary to deal with pollen allergies associated with his long-standing asthma. Wiggins left Team Sky in April 2015 to return his focus to the track.

The UCI, cycling's world governing body, approved the TUEs and there is no suggestion any rules were broken.

Triamcinolone, an anti-inflammatory, is a substance which had a history of abuse in cycling and is banned without a TUE.

The use of TUEs will be discussed in parliament next month, where the UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of "wrongdoing" in cycling is also likely to come up.

The investigation centres on a package delivered to Team Sky at the June 2011 Criterium du Dauphine stage race won by Wiggins, plus separate claims over the alleged availability of controlled painkiller Tramadol.

Like British Cycling, Team Sky is cooperating, but insists there has been no wrongdoing in an investigation which Wiggins has welcomed.

Wiggins suggested after October's London Six Day that he might continue and did so again after winning the Ghent Six Day last month, with Mark Cavendish, in the Belgian city where he was born.

Dani King, London 2012 team pursuit gold medallist, returns to the programme as a road rider, having missed out on selection for Rio.

Six riders have graduated from the senior academy, while Shanaze Reade is listed among the women's sprint group.

The former BMX world champion is joined by Victoria Williamson, who is continuing her rehabilitation following a career-threatening back injury.

PA

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