Bradley Wiggins suggested today that he will after all look to win a second Tour de France next year.
It has been widely predicted that Wiggins would ride the 2013 Tour for Team Sky as part of the support group for Chris Froome, who would seek to become the second Briton to claim the yellow jersey.
The route for the 2013 Tour favours climbers and it had been presumed – and indeed the prospect raised by staff at Team Sky – that Wiggins would instead target winning the Giro d’Italia before helping a Froome attempt to win the Tour.
But the 32-year-old, who also won Olympic gold this year and is favourite to crown a memorable few months by winning the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday, today said chasing back-to-back yellow jerseys remains an option.
“I don't know what the situation is in terms of leadership, as it stands I’m probably going to try and win a second Tour de France,” he told the BBC. “I don’t know, maybe we'll have two leaders, which is more than likely I guess. How that’s going to work with the team I don’t know, that’s more [Team Sky general manager] Dave Brailsford’s problem to worry about.
“It’s just how we service both mouths. Like I said that’s more a problem for Dave to figure out, but my goal is to win the Tour next year. Whether that is realised or not I don’t know really, we’re still in this planning phase at the moment, deciding each race, what we’re going to do next year, how we are going to go about training to do that. Whether I do the Tour of Italy before it, as I’ve said that is still undecided. All will be revealed in the coming months I guess.”
Last month Shane Sutton, Britain’s head coach and Wiggins’s mentor, said that the Briton wanted to complete the treble of the Grand Tours, adding the Giro and the Vuelta, within three years to become a “legend” of the sport. In contrast to the 2013 Tour route, which features four mountain-top finishes and only 65km of time trials, next year’s Giro appears far better suited to Wiggins’s strengths. Sutton also said that Wiggins remains hungry as ever, which may explain the desire for back-to-back Tour wins.
Froome, five years Wiggins’s junior, played a key role in this year’s historic triumph for Wiggins, finishing second. He had been widely expected to be given the lead role in 2013. If that is the route Brailsford and Sutton do decide to go down – as remains likely – Wiggins insists he will have no issue with being cast in a supporting role.
“Oh yeah, I wouldn’t be on the start line if not,” he said. "Whatever the team strategy is we all support that, otherwise you don’t take the start line because there'll be somebody else that is willing to fulfil that job. It’s a case of you do what’s asked of you on the day, whatever that decision is.”
Wiggins is back in full training – having recently spent a week warm-weather training in Majorca – following his accident last month when he was knocked off his bike.