Sir Bradley Wiggins has admitted that fellow Team Sky rider Chris Froome is better suited to Grand Tours and the 2014 Tour de France could be his last proper tilt at the prestigious race.
Wiggins famously won the 2012 Tour with crucial help in the mountains from Froome, who went on to dominate this year's edition of the blue riband race to secure his own yellow jersey win.
The four-time Olympic champion wants to chase a fifth gold at Rio in 2016 and believes he needs to pack in road cycling soon to get his body back suited to the track.
The 33-year-old's season has been riven with injury, forcing him to miss the Tour. He has also decided to sit out the upcoming Vuelta in order to ride the Tour of Britain and World Time Trial Championship.
Wiggins told The Times: "I don't mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me. He is a much better climber, he can time trial as well.
"He has age on his side, he has no kids. That's fine. If Chris wants to, he could potentially win five Tours now. So if I want to win another Tour, I'd probably have to leave the team.
"I love this team. This is my home. I'm not going to go, 'I want to be leader so I'm off'."
Wiggins has finally explained his version of events leading into the Giro and Tour, where the Team Sky leadership was a bone of contention between him and the young pretender Froome.
He added: "At this team, everyone is encouraged to be as good as they can be. I felt, as the defending champion, I was quite entitled to put my hand up and say 'I would like to be considered for the leadership'. But if someone is chosen over me I am professional enough to do my job.
"I know that at the last press conference I gave before the Giro (d'Italia), saying that caused quite a stir from Chris' camp.
"I remember at the start of the Giro there was a lot of s*** and, to be honest, it affected me."
As for the track, Wiggins is aware that time is not on his side if he wants to add another gold to his collection following success at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
He revealed: "I'm going to continue to the next Olympics and try for a fifth gold on the track, that's the plan.
"Having lost weight and muscle the last few years, I wouldn't be able to walk back into that team pursuit squad, so I am not taking it for granted but I am working towards that.
"It would be nice to finish the career with another Olympic gold."
Watch highlights of every Tour 2013 stage