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Wiggins looking to become Britain’s most decorated Olympian ever.

Photo: A.S.O.
29.02.2016 @ 11:41 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

In 2013 Wiggins, who was then the defending Tour de France winner, was controversially left out of Team Sky's Tour de France squad that summer due to his less than harmonious relationship with Chris Froome, and he was considering his next career move. Wiggins hinted that he might be willing to return to Team GB for one last crack on the boards provided that his former coach Heiko Salzwedel returned as well.

 

“Heiko is like Louis van Gaal or one of those other experienced European managers. He has his philosophy and he sticks to it. 'We are doing it this way'. The pressing game or whatever. Not everyone agrees with him but it seems to work. Sure enough, he turned it around in a couple of months. After the eighth place in Cali, GB were back to second in Paris [at last year’s World Track Championships],” Wiggins said in an interview with British newspaper The Telegraph.

 

With Wiggins now back in the fold, the British team will be looking to go one better at this year's worlds, which takes place at the Olympic velodrome in London this week.

 

However, a back injury suffered by Ed Clancy, the team's “number one man”, over the winter, means if he rides at all it will be at three or four, depriving the British team of their best starter. This, added to an impressive looking Team Australia, has lowered the expectations for the British team. Wiggins, though, insists that the British remain optimistic.

 

“I don't think it's necessarily about winning [in London],” Wiggins says. “The way we've treated it is that since we lost Ed, who is probably the one guy in this team who is irreplaceable, it's just about doing the best we can. And so far, it has served us well. We won the Euros [last autumn]. We did not win in Cali [at the World Cup event there] but we were getting it together by the end of the World Cup series. If we take that mentality into London, and we win, then great. But if we do not, it is not the end of the world. What matters is Rio.”

 

In order to win in Brazil the British team will almost certainly need to break the world record of 3min 51.659sec set by the GB quartet of Clancy, Steven Burke, Geraint Thomas and Pete Kennaugh in London four years ago, and most probably dip below 3min50sec for the first time.

 

Earlier this year, Wiggins was excused the altitude training camps because the years of racing already in his legs. Endurance is not considered an issue for Wiggins who currently weighs 14 kilos more than he did when he triumphed in the Tour de France. As the rider himself puts it: “Six hours at 200W is not something I need to work on. I've been training with a view that the race is 3min50sec and just training to the demands of that, rather than trying to do climbing," he explains. "I spent so many years doing that. And I am running out of time as well."

 

Speaking about the upcoming Worlds on British soil, Wiggins acknowledged that there is still room for improvement in the British outfit but also emphasized that London is merely a prelude to Rio.

 

“One thing is for sure," he says, “we still don't have the perfect mix. We are still trying out things. From that point of view, London is still a preparation race. Of course, we want to win but if we cannot deliver in London what we are hoping for, and there is a reason for this, there is not a problem.”

 

Rio is all that matters. “We all know just any medal isn't good enough. After 2008 and 2012 anything but gold [in Rio] will be a disappointment. I accept that pressure. That is why I came back.”

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