Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has admitted that World Champion Mark Cavendish may need to leave Team Sky in order to further his career.
At Sky we have set a precedent now. If we are going to dominate cycling
and win three grand tours in a year, we have to start building to that
GC [general classification] thing.
Unfortunately for Mark, as we saw in the Tour, the two don't really go well together.
The 2012 Team Sky roster has boasted an enviable line up which includes World Champion Cavendish, Olympic time trial gold medallist and Tour de France winner Wiggins, and runner-up Chris Froome.
However, if the team is to cement themselves as Grand Tour winners, sprinter Cavendish may find himself further down the priority list, a situation he had a taste of at the Tour de France earlier this year.
It is rumoured that Cavendish is looking to find a way out of his contract with Sky that sees him bound to the team for another two seasons.
"On a personal level I have enjoyed riding with him this year and I enjoy his company, but I understand why he would probably have to leave," Wiggins told The Daily Mail.
"I love seeing him win as much as anyone else and to see Mark back out on the Tour winning six, seven or eight different stages and challenging for the green, he probably has to go.
"At Sky we have set a precedent now. If we are going to dominate cycling and win three grand tours in a year, we have to start building to that GC [general classification] thing.
"Unfortunately for Mark, as we saw in the Tour, the two don't really go well together."
In 2011 Cavendish was a key focus of the HTC-Highroad team and won five stages and the points classification at the Tour de France. In 2012 with Sky, he took three stage wins, with very little assistance from the team.
"For his own career, I understand why he has to do it but from a selfish point of view I would like him to stay."
Wiggins, who has been enjoying the limelight following his recent successes, will make his return to racing at the Tour of Britain next month.
"The Olympics was amazing and so was the team success, but my day job is riding a bike.
"The season doesn't end until October and you have to go back to work at some point.
"It's disappointing but exciting that I'm going to do the Tour of Britain.
"I'll try to stay fit between now and then so I don't embarrass myself! It'll be good," Wiggins said Sunday as he launched the inaugural 'Ride with Brad' mass participation public cycling event in Barnoldswick, Lancashire.
Wiggins' Tour of Britain appearance will be followed by the UCI Road World Championships in The Netherlands, but the Olympic champion will not contest the time trial.
"I won't be doing the time trial. I have a lot of commitments now in the next six weeks and I am probably not going to be able to give the time to the training that is required to win the gold there.
"For me (it is) not big at all, I am the Olympic champion. That is the one everyone wants to win."
Wiggins will return the support he has received throughout the year by riding in support of his team.
"I will be there in a supporting role to help the guys in the road race and it is the same with the Tour of Britain.
"A lot of guys have ridden for me all year and rather than just stop and say I have won what I wanted to win and go on holiday for six months and get fat, I thought it would be nice to go back there and help the team in those races."