December 21 - Bradley Wiggins (pictured) has claimed that he could challenge for a unique double in 2012, winning the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal in London.

The treble Olympic gold medallist, who finished fourth in this year's Tour de France, joined Team Sky earlier this month which brings him back under the wing of the British Cycling system.

Wiggins: "It's going to be quite a difficult challenge [to win the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal] but that's the attractiveness of it to be honest.

"Come 2012, how close it is to the Tour de France finishing may be an issue - we'll have to take a look at the programme.

"That's part of the big challenge though - trying to win the Tour and an Olympic gold in the same year would be quite something."

No rider has won the Tour de France and Olympic gold in any event in the same year.

Between 1912 and 1992, Olympic competition was only open to amateur athletes, however in the professional era since two Tour-winning riders, Miguel Indurain and Jan Ullrich have also claimed Olympic gold medals during their careers.

Indurain won the individual time trial in Atlanta in 1996 and four years later Ullrich won the road race at the Sydney Games.

Unlike the Spaniard and the German, Wiggins would aim for gold on the track, rather than the road.

With the individual pursuit – an event Wiggins has won at the past two Olympics - no longer part of the programme for London 2012 after being controversially dropped by the UCI, he said he will focus instead on the defence of the team pursuit he and his British team-mates claimed in Beijing.

Any attempt at the Tour de France-Olympic double would rely on Wiggins's ability to deal with a rapid turn-around from the French race, and the potential conflict with the yet-to-be-announced track schedule for London.

With the Games scheduled to start on July 27, the Londoner may have less than a week to refocus for the track.

But there will be no conflict in the intervening two years.

Wiggins said: "Whether we [Sky] win the Tour [next year] or not, it won't be for the want of trying and we'll be there 100 per cent ready to go.

"I went through a whole season and didn't really target anything but was good at everything so next year with a bit more focus, and obviously the Tour de France is the main goal, we feel we can be a lot better."

Wiggins plans to employ some of the lessons he has learnt from Lance Armstrong, the seven-time winner of the Tour de France.

He said: "Just riding side-by-side with [Armstrong] up some of those climbs and talking to him - because he's a nice bloke - you're just learning from him all the time.

"The way he judges his effort, the way he handles the media as well.

"He's just the best at everything really."

Related stories
December 2009:
 Wiggins finally gets dream transfer and joins Team Sky
December 2009: Wiggins promises to concentrate on Garmin
November 2009: L'Equipe claim Wiggins will join Team Sky for 2010
November 2009: Team Sky still hoping to sign Wiggins as three more names announced
November 2009: Wiggins set for Team Sky after Evans decides Silence is not golden