Britain's Olympic track gold medallist Bradley Wiggins said on Wednesday his desire for gold in Beijing was part of the reason he will switch to German team T-Mobile for the 2008 season.
Wiggins, 27, won gold, silver and bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics and will switch from Cofidis to T-Mobile as one of ten newcomers to their roster for next season.
The Londoner, drafted for his experience and time-trial expertise, says his goal is to be in the best possible shape for Beijing. With his sights firmly set on defending his Olympic 4 kilometres individual pursuit title, 2008 is a huge year for the Brit.
"Next year could be my biggest ever," he said on the T-Mobile website. "It could make the difference between having been a good cyclist and being a great one. If I retire now, I would remain a good cyclist who has won an Olympic gold medal but if I do what I'm capable of next year it could put me onto another level as an athlete and a sportsman.
"What attracted me to T-Mobile is that they are fully behind my Olympic planning," he said on the team's website. "For example, I won't have to do next year's Tour de France, which is on the backburner for now. It will be a big change, the first time I've gone to a multicultural, English-speaking team. I'll be joining two other British guys, Mark Cavendish and Roger Hammond, which is something to look forward to."
Wiggins scored four wins on the road this season in what he describes as "probably my best ever on the tarmac."
He also showed great form at this year's Tour de France, where he backed up a solid prologue ride with fourth in the Albi time trial. But after Cofidis team-mate Christian Moreni failed a drugs test, the team withdrew and Wiggins feels he has unfinished business in the Tour.
"It was massive progress and I'll be back at the Tour in 2009 for sure. Next year, however, I have to think about the Olympic Games."
The other new T-Mobile riders are Norwegian time-trial champion Edvald Hagen, plus Americans John Devine, George Hincapie and Craig Lewis.
The team will have a multi-cultural look with Sweden's Thomas Lövkvist, Germany's Climbing Champion Tony Martin, Italian Morris Possoni, Spaniard Vicente Reynes and Belarus' Kanstantsin Siutsou also signing up.
© AFP 2007