1. ITV Report

Chorley knight Sir Bradley Wiggins hints he may never take part in Tour de France again

Sir Bradley Wiggins Photo: PA Pictures

Sir Bradley Wiggins has hinted he may never ride the Tour de France again as he appeared to cede Team Sky's leadership battle to Chris Froome.

Wiggins will not defend his Tour title this summer after a suffering a knee injury in the wake of the chest infection which ended his Giro d'Italia hopes.

That has cleared the road for Froome, 28, to go into this year's Tour as Team Sky's unquestioned leader and the clear favourite to win the race, while the 33-year-old Wiggins turns his attentions elsewhere.

"For me it was always about winning the Tour," Wiggins told the Guardian.

"I've done that. If I'm honest I don't think I'm prepared to make those sacrifices again that I made last year, with my family and so on. I've achieved what I've achieved. I'm incredibly happy with that.

"If I do anything else after this it will be stuff I want to do, stuff that I'm willing to train hard and sacrifice for really. For me it was always about winning the Tour, that was a huge thing for me, a huge journey; I've been doing that four years.

"I don't know if I'd want to go through all that again to be honest. I've always had other goals and there are other things I'd like to try and do."

Wiggins prioritised the Giro d'Italia this year but a chest infection put paid to his hopes in an event hampered by bad weather. His comments today also cast doubt on whether he would attempt that event again, or cycling's other Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana.

Yesterday, Rob Hayles - who won Olympic silver with Wiggins at the Athens Olympics - told Press Association Sport he believed Wiggins should focus on the Classics in the future, with events such as the Paris-Roubaix among his original ambitions as a young cyclist.

Happy together: Sir Bradley and Chris Froome Credit: PA Pictures

Froome has declared that he hopes to dominate not only this year's Tour but the event for years to come, and Wiggins backed his younger team-mate to do that, effectively stepping aside in the process.

"Chris has really stepped up, he's delivered now and he looks like he's really going to be there for a few years to win a few Tours maybe," he said.

"There has been a natural selection this year through Chris' performances and my performances that he warrants being the team leader; and if he wins the Tour, that continues through to next year.

"I can live with that. I didn't go to the altitude camp before the Giro because I wanted to be with my family; the kids are getting older and I like watching [my son] Ben play rugby and other things."

Wiggins is now expected to make his return to competition in the Tour of Poland in late July with events including September's Tour of Britain also on the horizon.

"That's a race I've always wanted to do well in," he said of the British event.

"It's getting bigger every year and in terms of profile in this country it's a nice thing to do well in."

He will also aim to take part in the world championships at the end of the season.

"The Worlds was always a focus and if anything this gives me a better opportunity to focus on it," he said.

"Doing the Giro and the Tour it was always a matter of how much would be left because there is an eight-week period from the end of the Tour to the World's which is a long time. This has given me time to stop after the Giro and I've got a nice chunk of time to get ready for the Worlds."