Chorley’s Sir Bradley Wiggins hinted at extending his career after finishing second in the London Six Day with Mark Cavendish on Sunday.
Wiggins and Cavendish, Madison world champions at the Lee Valley VeloPark in March, finished as runners-up to Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw of Belgium in the exhibition event, which began last Tuesday.
Wiggins quipped “money talks” when he was asked if he could be persuaded to return in 2017.
He added: “I’ve enjoyed it that much, I just don’t know at the moment.
“I’d love to still be part of it in the future. I still love riding my bike, I love racing.
“Who wouldn’t want to come back, with a week like this and the crowds like this? It’s been incredible.”
For now at least, the 36-year-old’s career finale comes in Ghent, the city of his birth, in the Six Day event which runs from November 15 until November 20.
Wiggins and Cavendish are two of the key protagonists in British cycling’s boom years and came close to a crowd-pleasing victory, only to be beaten by the defending champions.
Wiggins was racing for the first time after a period he described himself as “topsy turvy”.
Data stolen by hackers from files held by the World Anti-Doping Agency showed Wiggins received three therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone – a substance which has a history of abuse in cycling and is otherwise banned – on the eve of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Wiggins, who in 2012 became the first British winner of the Tour, and Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford strenuously deny wrongdoing, insisting the injections were medically necessary to deal with a pollen allergy that aggravates Wiggins’ long-standing asthma condition.
The TUEs had the approval of the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, and there is no suggestion any rules were broken.
There is also an ongoing UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in cycling, something which followed reports a package was delivered to Team Sky at the June 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, then Wiggins’ most significant road victory. He raced for Team Sky until April 2015.
Team Sky deny wrongdoing, and, like British Cycling, are cooperating with the investigation, which Wiggins has welcomed.
Wiggins began the evening jesting about his retirement – “I’m getting on a bit”, he said – and the scrutiny which he has faced of late.
He added: “I might get a job in Tesco, stacking shelves. Just getting back to a bit of normality.”
It is doubtful he would be keen to sort the newspapers.
Wiggins again declined to speak to the media, only addressing the crowd from the central stage where he was awarded numerous prizes as one half of a crowd-pleasing partnership with Cavendish.
It was clear he was enjoying himself, revelling in the theatre of an event which sees the velodrome turned into a nightclub.
The pair won Sunday’s first event, the Derny race. The Madison chase concluded the event and Cavendish and Wiggins just fell short.