MILAN (VN) — Olympic gold medalist and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will end his road cycling career with Sky at Paris-Roubaix on April 12 and switch to track racing ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Everyone knows what this team means to me so I’m really pleased to extend my contract until the end of April 2015,” the 34-year-old Englishman said in a Sky press release Monday morning.
“I’ve been with Team Sky from the start. I’ve had some amazing experiences during that time and I hope there are a few more to come.”
Wiggins brought Sky 23 wins since he joined the team for its debut in 2010. In 2012, he reached a new high by winning stage races Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, and the Critérium du Dauphiné en route to his Tour de France title. He went on to claim gold in the London Olympics time trial a week after winning the Tour.
In 2014, Wiggins won the Amgen Tour of California and focused on the Paris-Roubaix cobbled classic instead of the grand tours’ high mountain passes. He placed ninth and said afterwards he would return in 2015 to try to win again.
The 2015 race will close his road career that began in 2002. Afterwards, he is expected to participate in selected British road races with a new third-division team he is helping start. “Team Wiggo” will debut in the Challenge Mallorca in February, according to Cycling Weekly, and will give Wiggins the race training he needs for the track after stopping with Sky.
“Paris-Roubaix is a special race for me and I’m determined to give it another go in Team Sky colors,” Wiggins said.
“It’s one of the toughest races in the calendar and my aim is to improve on my ninth-place finish. After that, I can focus fully on preparing for the Rio Olympics in 2016.”
Wiggins wants to break the hour record in June or July and is hoping to make Great Britain’s 2016 pursuit team, which he already helped win gold at the 2008 Olympics.
He also claimed Olympic gold in the individual pursuit in 2004 and 2008, building a total of four gold medals in the Olympics — three on the track and one on the road.
In September, Wiggins added a missing treasure to his chest with the time trial title at the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. He beat three-time winner Tony Martin of Germany.
“I’d love to win Paris-Roubaix, I want to focus more on that next year, then off the back of that, the hour record. It’ll give me something to do something next year!” Wiggins said at the worlds.
“Then finish it off with another gold medal in Rio in the team pursuit, that’d be a nice way to end it all.”
Wiggins’ Sky ride was not always easy. He and Chris Froome locked horns at the 2012 Tour de France. For 2013, Sky went with Froome and Wiggins raced half of the Giro d’Italia and skipped the Tour.
Sky won the 2013 Tour with Froome and returned with him as leader in 2014. Froome is expected to lead the team again at this year’s Tour as Sky helps other grand tour riders develop, like Richie Porte and Leopold König.
Wiggins, even after April, will remain Sky’s No. 1 man for the work he did taking the new British team from nothing to the top of the cycling world.
“He’s been an incredible ambassador for cycling and an inspiration to millions of people around the world,” team principal David Brailsford said.
“Rightly, he still has big ambitions for the future and everyone at team Sky will work their hardest to make his final chapter with us a successful one.”