Bradley Wiggins should forgo the chance to defend his Tour de France crown next year and mount a double assault on the other Grand Tours if he’s to cement his place in the pantheon of cycling greats, according to British Cycling and Sky head coach Shane Sutton.

Having become the first British Tour de France winner in its history – before adding Olympic time trial gold a couple of weeks later – few could argue Wiggins’ legend status within British sport.

But Wiggins himself admitted he won’t be able to top his summer of 2012 and Sutton has questioned his appetite to tackle the centenary edition of the Tour de France – expected to feature the majority of the race’s historical mountains, something that could suit Team Sky teammate Chris Froome better.

“Nothing can take that away from him. It took 106 years in the making, not of Brad obviously but to find a British winner, and it is a phenomenal achievement,” said Sutton.

“And whether we have an appetite to go back and repeat I am not sure yet.”

Sutton knows a thing or two about Wiggins’ motivation, having read him the riot act in 2010 after a 24th place finish in the Tour and he was he who built the Brit up again after breaking his collarbone in the 2011 race, when looking good to challenge.

Indeed, Sutton built Wiggins up to the extent that he came third in the Vuelta a Espana just weeks after that crash.

And Sutton believes 32-year-old Wiggins must return to the Vuelta next August – and bid to win the Giro d’Italia in May – to join the likes of Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx as winners of all three Grand Tours.

“For me I would like to see Brad go out of this sport, not that he won’t as it stands already, but as a legend,” said Sutton.

“But I think the legendary status for him could be enhanced by winning the three grand tours. I think he should target the tour of Italy and then the Vuelta.

“He came third in the Vuelta [in 2011] off the back of laying on a hospital bed for six or seven weeks out after a shoulder operation. So that is doable.

“The Giro is a different one, it is a different kettle of fish. But if anyone can do it Brad can.

“You look at the goals that you set out for yourself in a career and when you look at Brad he has achieved his goal, he has won the Tour.”

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Bradley Wiggins: Rider profile

 

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  • Dave Rowe

    Shane Sutton’s idea sounds like a good ‘un to me – a Giro/Vuelta double assault for Brad and a payback tilt at the TdF for Chris Froome. It would also give more prominence to the Giro and the Vuelta to (recent) newly arrived British fans highlighting the exciting racing to be had in the grand opera that is the Giro and following on from the exciting climax to this year’s Vuelta Got to be worth a try?

  • Pee Bee

    As one who lives in France, I would like to say that not only did Wiggo win the TDF, which was a great achievement, but perhaps more importantly, he won the hearts and minds of the French, convincing the nation that he was a worthy winner. This was partly due to the “Gentleman Wiggins” incident where British fair play met with French approval with that well known French expression “so British”, but also, perhaps more importantly, his regular interviews in French on French TV did much to break the ice. It was also good to hear both Frome and Brailsford being interviewed in French on TV. Even Cav had a little French prepared for Paris.
    It would therefore be very bad form (and certainly not cricket) if Team Sky does not enable “Gentleman Wiggins” to defend his TDF title, as this might reflect badly on Team Sky and British cycling in general. Having achieved their aim of a British rider wining Le Tour, Team Sky needs the humility to honour the race rather than treating it like some kind of stamp collecting exercise. Yes, it would be great to see sideburns on the top podium in Italy and Spain, but Sky owes it to the French to allow the winner of their race to ride in 2013.
    Mind you, the damage might have been done already with L.G’s impromptu rendition of the national anthem. As a musician I’ was lost for words. As an anglais en France, I took cover and cringed.

  • Samuel G

    If anyone ever wins all three grand tours in one year I will eat my bike piece by piece! Giro looks to be less mountainous next year, tour much more so….vuelta as yet unknown but likely to be less mountainous than this year. Froome was tired after tour and olympics. Contador had fresh legs after a six month ban. 2013 looks set to be the most exciting year of competition in a long time, woohoo!!

  • Ian

    Roche.Good idea for Brad to target other big races.Takes the sport away from the TDF-focused years of Indurain,Armstrong et al.

  • Samuel G

    It would be amazing if Wiggins could do the do the Giro/Vuelta double….how about adding the worlds road race for a bit of added “motivation” ? as far as i can see winning all three in the same year has never been achieved by anyone, not even Merckx, although maybe the worlds parcours is more suited to the hardmen. on the other hand I wouldn’t be surprised if Contador is thinking about the tour/giro/worlds triple for 2013…

  • John

    Judging by what I have seen of the Vuelta and the Giro, Wiggins would be better sticking to the TDF. Froome ended up pretty mullered by Contador in Spain, so I can’t see how Brad would be able to do any better in the mountains. I would go for Froome and Wiggo again in the Tour, which goes some way to covering accidents and illness etc. However, if Contador’s imperious form continues, I can’t see anyone touching him in the TDF and Vuelta. Could Alberto go for the ‘big three’ Tours?