Could Bradley Wiggins return to Garmin?
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
The old saying is that you should never go back but Cyclingnews can reveal that Bradley Wiggins and his former team manager at Garmin, Jonathan Vaughters, have held informal conversations about the possibility of reuniting next season.
Wiggins is out of contract at the end of 2014 and after missing out on a Tour de France spot has talked to a number of teams. He was linked with a move to Orica-GreenEdge last month but that trail appears to have gone cold. The British rider is set to decide his future on the road in the coming weeks and Garmin are a leading contender should a contract with Sky not materialise.
“Brad and I have had a couple of friendly chats,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
“They were nice conversations but I have to stress that Sky have the first priority in this matter and we can’t negotiate or sign contracts until the UCI’s transfer window opens on August 1 and we’re going to follow the rules strictly.”
Wiggins signed for Garmin in 2009 and finished fourth in the Tour de France that year. That finishing position was later revised to third after Lance Armstrong was disqualified, meaning Wiggins became the first British rider ever to stand on the Tour de France top-three podium.
Although he was locked into a long-term deal with Garmin at the time, his Tour performance led to Team Sky buying him out of his contract with the American team and signing him for their debut road season in 2010. It was an acrimonious split between the rider and Garmin, with Wiggins at the time comparing Garmin to Wigan Athletic Football Club and Team Sky to more successful Manchester United.
However, four years is a long time in cycling and should Team Sky and Wiggins fail to renegotiate a deal Garmin appear ready to make a move. Such a move would see Wiggins link up with Garmin’s Andrew Talansky, who leads the team into this year’s Tour de France. Wiggins has spoken before about his desire to ride the Tour one last time before the Rio Olympics but not as a team number one.
“Brad and I, our objectives are aligned. We both want to work with strong team time trial teams and we share other ideas too. There have been no negotiations at this stage though and we won’t and can’t make a move until Team Sky make a decision,” Vaughters added.
Cyclingnews contacted Dave Brailsford at Team Sky. The team manager brought Wiggins to Sky in 2010 and toldCyclingnews that, “we are keen to discuss future opportunities with Brad.”