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Wiggins told reputation no guarantee of Olympic place

British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake says riders must fight to ride at Rio

British Cycling’s chief executive Ian Drake has told Sir Bradley Wiggins that reputation is no guarantee of selection for the British Olympic team at Rio in 2016.

Wiggins, aged 33, hopes to ride the team pursuit with the aim of picking up a fifth Olympic gold medal.

He was a member of the victorious Team GB quartet at Beijing in 2008, where he also successfully defended the individual pursuit title he had won in Athens four years earlier.

Last year, less than a fortnight after becoming the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France, he won the time trial on the road at London 2012.

Speaking at the launch of British Cycling’s new four-year strategy earlier this week, which includes a target of equalling or beating the London medal haul at Rio, Drake said that Wiggins would have to fight for his place like everyone else.

“The fact you have Bradley saying he wants to come back and do that is great news for the sport but competition is really high which is a great place for us to be,” he said, quoted in the Lancashire Telegraph.

“The strength in depth of athletes that we have got now is phenomenal.

“Everyone who pulls on the Great Britain jersey now knows they are in a fight for those places.

“People have to earn that jersey. You only have to look at what happened in terms of selections for London 2012 with Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy.”

With a change in rules meaning only one rider per country permitted in each individual track event at London, Hoy, winner of the individual sprint and keirin at Beijing, only rode the latter at last year's Olympic Games.

The event saw him clinch his sixth career gold medal to become Great Britain’s most successful Olympian. Kenny triumphed in the individual sprint and, together with Philip Hindes, the pair also won in the team sprint.

Explaining the selection process, Drake said: “It was on ‘who is best placed to win these medals’.

“Those decisions are made purely on performance basis and podium performances, not what has been done historically.”

Ahead of the UCI Track Cycling Classics World Cup in Manchester at the start of this month, two members of the Team GB quartet that won gold in the team pursuit at London warned Wiggins and Mark Cavendish that they couldn’t expect to walk into the line-up.

Cavendish was said to harbour hopes of riding in the event at Rio as he seeks his first Olympic medal.

He was the only British track rider not to win one in Beijing, where he rode the Madison with Wiggins, and he also missed out in London last year where he started the road race as a strong favourite.

Ed Clancy and Stephen Burke said that the pair would have to fully commit themselves to the track rather than the road and prove that they deserved a place on merit if they were to make the Olympic team in 2016.

Subsequently, Cavendish has played down his ambitions of riding on the track at Rio, quoted by Sky Sports as saying: “I'm a professional on the road. I ride for a pro road team and, ultimately, that is where my loyalties lie.

"If I'm able to do, I would like to think about it, but I have got no solid plans.

“I want to keep myself in the frame, but there are also guys that put 100 per cent of their time into the track and it is beneficial to British Cycling if those guys get their chance."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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WolfieSmith | 10 years ago

Equally astounding was Sir Rowing Fella's constant griping after each win. 'Never again!' Well stop doing it then... Nobody's forcing you. And then you get the tragic cases like Crackers who just will not stop and that dafty who keeps losing bits of himself to frost bite trying to pogo across Antarctica and the like. Get over it all and do something useful with your second life. Zzzzzzz.

Rant over....

Cyclist | 10 years ago

It will be hard for anyone to surpass 'the rowing fella' it may only be 5 golds from five separate events, but that's five Olympic training cycles over 20 years, forget about the event, it's more about the sheer tenacity drive want selfishness that is required to accomplish that that is truly astounding. Of course genetics play a huge role, but still awesome  4

sm | 10 years ago

I think you have to take everything Wiggins says with a very large dose of salt. I'd be surprised if he returns to the track as anything other than a spectator.

bikeandy61 | 10 years ago

As much as I admire Brad I have to say that this is as it should be. To me this attempt is all about ego and wanting to be up there or surpass Chris Hoy and that rowing fella on the all time UK medal table. To be honest I feel the same way about Cav's statement that he wants to ride the track at Rio so he can go for his elusive Olympic Gold. This is the problem with the Olympics foregoing the amateur only status of years past. To me these guys have made the very lucrative move to the pro road ranks and it sticks in my craw to think that they could deny young riders a chance. If we were desperate for talent (as in the Chris Boardman days) fair enough but as seen at the World Cup we are blessed with a wealth of talent at present. I won't shed a tear if neither Wiggo or Cav make the Rio selection (or to be fair any of the other UK riders now riding with Sky et al).

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