Cycling: Mark Cavendish may have to leave Sky to fulfil his goals, admits Bradley Wiggins


Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Tour de France and Olympic time-trial champion Bradley Wiggins accepts that fellow British star Mark Cavendish may have to leave Team Sky.

Cavendish was part of the team that propelled Wiggins to his historic triumph in France this summer but was frustrated in his own ambitions. The Manxman won the green jersey as top sprinter in 2011 but was this year limited to just three stage wins as team orders took priority.

The 27-year-old still has two-and-a-half years of his lucrative deal with Team Sky remaining but there has been speculation that he might be seeking a way out.

Wiggins, 32, said: "On a personal level I have enjoyed riding with him this year and I enjoy his company, but I understand why he would probably have to leave. I love seeing him win as much as anyone else and to see Mark back out on the Tour winning six, seven or eight different stages and challenging for the green, he probably has to go.

"At Sky we have set a precedent now. If we're going to dominate cycling and win three grand tours in a year, we have to start building to that GC [general classification] thing.

"Unfortunately for Mark, as we saw in the Tour, the two don't really go well together. For his own career, I understand why he has to [leave Sky] but from a selfish point of view I would like him to stay."

Wiggins was originally scheduled to return to action after his London 2012 victory in next week's Tour of Denmark but has now been given extra time off. Instead he will next race in the Tour of Britain, which begins in Ipswich on 9 September.

From there he will go to the Road World Championships in the Netherlands but he intends to let others enjoy the glory this time and will not contest the time-trial.

"For me [it is] not big at all," Wiggins said. "I am the Olympic champion. That's the one everyone wants to win.I won't be doing the time-trial [at the World Championships]. I have a lot of commitments now in the next six weeks and I'm probably not going to be able to give the time to the training that is required to win the gold there.

"I will be there in a supporting role to help the guys in the road race and it is the same with the Tour of Britain.

"A lot of guys have ridden for me all year and rather than just stop and say 'I've won what I wanted to win' and go on holiday for six months and get fat, I thought it would be nice to go back there and help the team in those races."

The eight-stage Tour of Britain could effectively provide Wiggins with a personal lap of honour, with cycling enjoying a boom and huge crowds likely to greet him around the country.

He feels that should more than make up for missing the planned Team GB victory parade in London on 10 September.

"The Olympics was amazing and so was the team success, but my day job is riding a bike," Wiggins said. "The season doesn't end until October and you have to go back to work at some point. I can't live off the Olympics for the next two months."