Winning gold on the back of winning the Tour would perhaps put me into a different bracket as an athlete,' says Bradley Wiggins.
Bradley Wiggins is targeting both the Tour de France yellow jersey and Olympic gold next summer and believes British Cycling will decide in the next few weeks which events he should target at the London Games.
Fresh from winning silver in the world time trial in Copenhagen and helping Mark Cavendish to gold in the road race, Wiggins said he believes more strongly than ever that securing an unprecedented double is possible.
"I've done the Olympics, this will be my fourth, I've been there and got the golds. They haven't changed my life but winning the Tour would certainly change my life," he said. "Winning gold on the back of winning the Tour would certainly change my life and perhaps put me into a different bracket as an athlete."
Wiggins said it was the prospect of combining a serious challenge in the Tour, in which he finished fourth in 2009 but had to withdraw with a broken collarbone this year, with an Olympic challenge that had fired his enthusiasm for the Games.
"It's never been done so I think if I wasn't doing the tour next year and I was just going back to do the team pursuit and I had the winter to look forward to of going back on the track, the World Cups, the world championships in March and all that it wouldn't excite me at all," said the six-times Olympic medallist.
"I would really not be looking forward to it. The only way I'd ever do the track now is by coming back off the road. It's got to excite you to be able to do it."
The Team Sky rider – who has three Olympic golds, a silver and two bronzes in his collection – said he saw winning the Tour and securing a medal at the Games, which starts days after the Champs-Elysées finish to the Tour, as two halves of the same challenge.
"As crazy as it sounds to everyone, I don't see it as compromising one for the other. That's what I want to do – it's not a case of justifying why I'm doing it either," said Wiggins. "This is what I want to do, follow me and see what the results are and we'll talk about it afterwards. I'm doing it."
He said completing the Tour of Spain after breaking his collarbone and completing "the time trial of my life" at the world championships proved he could compete in both disciplines.
Wiggins said that given the choice he would compete in "everything" at the Olympics but he is likely to target the team pursuit on the track over the time trial on the road. "I'll ride the event I've got most chance of winning gold in and at this stage that will probably be the team pursuit, I imagine," he said. He said his coach, Shane Sutton, and others at British Cycling had "probably" already made the decision and expected to hear in "the next few weeks".
Wiggins, who set Cavendish up for his momentous victory on the final lap, hailed a "fantastic team performance" that helped the Manx rider to gold.
"Our plan worked perfectly. We always knew if we got him to that finish straight he'd be the fastest rider there. That's part of the belief the whole team had, that's why there was such commitment from everyone because knew Mark was going to finish it off," he said. "It's like a football team with the best striker in the world. Our job was quite easy in some respects in that we knew there was a 99% chance he was going to finish it off. It was an incredible day."
Wiggins said being able to hit the front with a lap to go was the "dream scenario". "It was like a relay race and we handed on the baton in perfect position each time until the home straight where I was able to give Mark the home stretch. It was phenomenal really," said Wiggins.
"I was always expecting the shit to hit the fan. I was like a dog on a leash who kept being held back to take over the reins with a lap to go. It couldn't have gone better really."
Displaying the focus that has been a feature of the evolution of British Cycling over the past decade, Wiggins said home advantage would not be a factor.
"It could be in Baghdad or anywhere it shouldn't change the performance in that velodrome," he said. "I haven't seen the velodrome, I don't really want to see it. That sounds dull but I don't want it to have any bearing or impetus on it. It shouldn't change the performance that day because the crowd's made up of more Brits or your family is there."
Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 27 September 2011