LONDON (Reuters) – British Cycling is keeping the door open for Bradley Wiggins to continue racing in 2017 as the five-times Olympic champion and Tour de France winner considers his future.
Wiggins, 36, was named on Thursday as part of the eight rider men’s track endurance team in British Cycling’s Olympic Podium Programme squad.
The program supports the country’s elite cyclists on the road to major competitions like the world championships and Olympic Games.
British Cycling said they were giving Wiggins flexibility as he continued to “consider the direction of his future”.
Wiggins became Britain’s most decorated Olympian at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where he won the team pursuit to take his tally to eight medals, with five golds.
He was embroiled in subsequent controversy when Russian hackers revealed he had applied for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to use a banned corticosteroid prior to his 2012 Tour de France victory and two other road races in 2011 and 2013 when he rode for Team Sky.
Wiggins said after winning the Ghent six day race in November that it would probably be his last.
“I’ve got to be realistic. Much as my heart wants to, my head is saying no. I wouldn’t like to come back next year and not win and not be strong. At some point you’ve got to stop and say this is it,” he told the Guardian newspaper at the time.
“It’s easy now sitting here with all the glory of winning to think: ‘Yeah let’s do it all again,’ but I wouldn’t like at any moment next year to think: ‘Stupid idiot, why did he carry on?”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)