Bradley Wiggins has warned cycling could take a step backward if Team Sky closes its doors at the end of next season.
“People need to be careful what they wish for because if Sky go now the sport will be worse off for it,” Wiggins said on talkSPORT.
“(Cycling) won’t disintegrate but it won’t have the profile it has enjoyed now. This day was always going to happen because the sport is so backward in some ways, the people that run it. It’s not corrupt but it’s so backward. There’s no money in the sport.
“Sky brought money but I’m talking about sponsors in general aside from Sky. Rather than be grateful for a company like Sky people just hammered it.”
Team Sky were often targeted by some fans and many of the UCI’s recent reforms of racing regulations were seen to be “anti-Team Sky” as they sought to break the dominance of a team that has won the Tour de France six of the past seven years.
But Wiggins said Sky’s drive for innovation had pushed the sport forward and that approach would be missed if it folded, even if he accepted the “racing may be better” if Sky’s star-studded squad was broken up and riders such as Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas were racing head-to-head.
“The amount of money they’ve put in over the last 10 years … is incredible, and the timing of that with the generation of cyclists and what Dave wanted to do, we may never ever see it again,” he said.