LONDON • Bradley Wiggins believes Chris Froome can emulate his 2012 Tour de France and Olympic time-trial double, but thinks it may be more difficult for his Team Great Britain team-mate and former Sky lieutenant because the Games are being held in Rio.
Wiggins followed up his 2012 Tour success with victory against the clock around the streets of London, while Froome took bronze.
With Wiggins concentrating on the track in Rio, Froome's best hopes of a gold rest in the time trial, where his chief rival, the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, is now a serious doubt with a fractured wrist suffered during the Tour.
"I think it's probably harder for him this time," said Wiggins. "He has to travel out to a completely different continent whereas we came back home (in 2012), and that is probably more of a challenge for Chris."
Speaking of his own victory in the final time trial of the 2012 Tour, Wiggins said it left him buoyed with confidence that he would also prevail in its Olympic equivalent. Froome, he believes, has every right to feel equally bullish.
"The power I averaged that day, I knew nothing was going to change in 10 days," he said. "If I just did it again, I'd be all right.
TOUR WINNERS AT THE OLYMPICS
TOUR: Bjarne Riis of Denmark
OLYMPICS: 87th in road race. Helped Rolf Sorensen to silver.
No winner logged (Lance Armstrong's title annulled)
No winner logged (Armstrong's title annulled)
TOUR: Carlos Sastre of Spain
OLYMPICS: 48th in road race. Helped Samuel Sanchez to gold.
TOUR: Bradley Wiggins of Britain
OLYMPICS: Gold in time trial.
THE TIMES, LONDON
"There weren't too many challenges for me to overcome other than I couldn't get down my lane (to my house) for a couple of days.
"He can do it, definitely. The way he won the Tour, that's not going to go anywhere for two weeks. If anyone can do it, he can do it."
The equation is even simpler according to Mark Cavendish, who left this year's Tour early in order to prepare for Rio.
Cavendish is moving from the road to the track, so, from his perspective, Froome has a straightforward strategy.
"It's a road race, he's come from a road race to a road race," Cavendish, who won four stages of this year's Tour, said, pointing out that he went through a similar procedure four years ago when he took part in the road race after competing in France.
"We finished on the Sunday and did the road race on the Saturday in London. He knows what he's got to do; he's just won the Tour de France. You can't tell a grandmother to suck eggs."
Cavendish was favourite to win gold in the London road race but, in spite of the best efforts of Wiggins and Froome, his team-mates, finished 29th.
"I never did it, though," he said, but pointed out that Wiggins was able to recover from the road race to win gold in the 2012 Olympic time trial.
The selection of Cavendish for the men's omnium in Rio was controversial, with some doubting that he could be fresh enough for the challenge and quick enough to adapt to the track.
But the 31-year-old Manxman spelt out that he never had any intention of putting the Tour first.
"If I'd have been over the limit on the third day I'd have stopped on the third day," he said. "The last two days, on the Sunday and Monday I was tired. I knew (it was having) a detrimental effect. I stayed for the rest day and went for a ride.
If I went out and I was floating I would've carried on but I came back and I was tired. I couldn't push high power. Everyone's the same. It's when your body starts going catabolic, that's not beneficial for the track." THE GUARDIAN,
THE TIMES, LONDON