Britain’s Bradley Wiggins has indicated that staying with his current team Garmin is unlikely to boost his hopes of finishing on the Tour de France podium next year.
After his remarkable fourth place finish on July’s race the versatile Englishman, best known for his individual pursuit feats on the track at the Olympics and world’s, has become a target for the new British outfit Team Sky.
Wiggins has a year left on his contract with Garmin and the American outfit run by former professional Jonathan Vaughters wants him to honour it.
Wiggins, however, says that to improve in 2010 he has to move elsewhere.
Despite improving immensely during his spell with Garmin, he used a rather unflattering football analogy to summarise his thoughts on the issue.
“It’s a bit like trying to win the Champions League and to win the Champions League you go to Manchester United and I’m probably playing at Wigan at the moment. I’ll probably have to make that step to do it,” Wiggins told the BBC.
He added: “I’ve had a good time this year at Garmin but times have changed. I don’t know, the Tour changed everything for me really so we’ll see what happens.”
Wiggins had hoped to finish on the podium of the men’s time trial on Thursday but was never really a challenger and fell even further out of contention when suffering a mechanical problem.
He crossed the finish in 21st place, nearly five minutes behind Swiss star Fabian Cancellara.
Team Sky was formed earlier this year thanks to an estimated 25-30 million pounds of backing, over a three-year period, from BSkyB, with other companies being sought as co-sponsor.
Run by Dave Brailsford, the man who spearheaded Britain’s rise to global dominance in track cycling leading to seven of the ten gold medals on offer at the Beijing Olympics, the team’s objective is to produce a first British Tour de France winner within five years.
Wiggins, after this year’s performance, would be the perfect candidate, although he hinted that British Cycling were keen for him to defend his track pursuit titles at the London Olympics in 2012.
“I think I’ll always be back there in London defending my titles in the pursuit,” added Wiggins, who had placed doubt on his Olympic future after his Tour de France achievement.
Brailsford, speaking to the BBC, would not be drawn on the Wiggins transfer speculation, saying: “Key British riders may be under contract and we have to respect that.”
Among the riders to have already signed for the team, to be coached by Australian Scott Sunderland, are Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, Australian Simon Gerrans, Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha and Sweden’s Thomas Lövkvist.
British hopes Steve Cummings, Russell Downing, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas have also joined.
© AFP 2009