Tour de France: Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford believes Bradley Wiggins can improve

 

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford believes Bradley Wiggins is still capable of improvement, despite winning an historic Tour de France at the weekend.

Wiggins realised his lifelong ambition after becoming the first Briton to top the Tour podium after 13 days in the yellow jersey, negotiating 3,497 kilometres to Paris.

A monk-like existence in Majorca and at altitude in Tenerife has also helped Wiggins to an unprecedented series of wins in 2012 - in the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie stage races and a defence of his Dauphine crown.

But while the three-time Olympic champion has rightfully received glowing tributes from all quarters since his triumph on the Champs-Elysees yesterday, Brailsford still believes there is more to come.

After achieving Team Sky's stated aim of winning the Tour within five years two years ahead of schedule, Brailsford - in his role as British Cycling performance director, as well as at Team Sky - is eager for further success.

Brailsford, who has been key in Wiggins' progression, said: "When guys win first gold medals there always tends to be a dip (in performance).

"He can still get better. It's down to Bradley's desire and commitment which will be within.

"If he stays intrinsically driven towards doing the Tour there is no reason why not because physically he can do it again.

"It's more about his desire. I will put money on it that he will stay as focused and driven as he is."

For the rest of his days Wiggins will be asked to recall the 99th Tour, the period from June 30 in Liege to July 22 on the Champs-Elysees when he became the first Briton to triumph in the sport's most fabled race.

But Wiggins' appetite for victory remains and he will aim to help Mark Cavendish win the London 2012 Olympic road race on Saturday's opening day before seeking personal success in the Hampton Court time-trial on day five of the Games.

He said: "I'm loving what I'm doing at the moment. I'm in my element on days like this.

"I love that whole process of going out, warming up, getting in the zone, out there flying along the road.

"That's what I love doing. It's how I've ridden all year. I could have switched off after Paris-Nice (in March).

"But you forget about it, move on to the next thing."

A day-by-day approach has served Wiggins, a three-time Olympic champion and six-time medallist, well and he has matured to become a leader of men.

"It's something that comes from within," he added.

"It's probably what makes you a good athlete, that mental strength.

"It's age as well. I couldn't have done it eight, nine years ago.

"As I'm getting older, you want more out of yourself. Turn the screw a bit more."

PA

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