British rider Bradley Wiggins will focus his attention solely on the Tour de France for the next two years in an effort to win cycling’s most daunting race.
Wiggins equalled the best Tour finish by a Briton with fourth place at this year’s event and wants to surpass that feat by 2011.
The 29-year-old has held discussions with the British-funded Team Sky, being put together by British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford with the intention of winning the Tour.
He plans to ignore the track events which have produced three Olympic gold medals for him until 2012 when the Olympic Games comes to London.
“A lot has changed now and the obvious path for me is to try and win the Tour de France within the next three years,” he said. “It’s the biggest bike race in the world and finishing fourth has opened up a whole new set of doors for me. What a challenge winning it is and I want a go at it. There will be no track racing for the next two years, it will just be full on for the tour.
“In 2012 I’ll try and do both, which would be an even greater achievement,” he added. “I’d like to win Olympic gold and then win the Tour in the same year. I believe it’s possible and can be done.”
Wiggins was encouraged by his mental toughness throughout the Tour, an area he feared could undermine his pre-race ambition of finishing inside the top 20.
“Usually I find the mental side of it consuming, it really takes it out of you,” he said. “I always thought that I might collapse mentally after two weeks because I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or would suffer lapses in concentration through fatigue, losing contact on a climb. But mentally I held it together very well and I feel like I’ve taken it to another level now.
“It’s made me think about what I can achieve and has shown what I’m capable of,” he added. “My success this year has fed my hunger.”
© 2009 AFP & BikeRadar