Bradley Wiggins has won the lot. Here, the retired Tour de France and multi Olympic champion talks about his cycling legacy, with Claire Bloomfield
When you look back at your career what are your favourite moments?
I have been lucky to experience some great moments on the bike both on the road and track. As a boy my dream was to wear the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France and win an Olympic Gold medal. With the history of the Tour de France I was so proud to wear the Yellow Jersey, but I’ll always come back to the Olympics, and especially the London Olympics. I’m not sure it will ever get better than representing your country in a home Games and winning Gold riding the roads I used to train on as a lad.
What sort of training do you do away from the bike?
For the Team Pursuit, an event which takes around 3:50s it is a mix between endurance and power. So we spend a lot of time in the gym gaining that power – we’ve come to know the squat rack very well over the past months.
You’ve played a significant part in encouraging Britain to get on their bikes and take up cycling. How does that make you feel?
Cycling is a great sport for so many reasons and along with others like Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott and so on I’m just really proud that we have played a part in getting everyone on their bikes. You have people coming up to you saying things like, “You’ve changed my life, I’ve lost 4 stone and have never felt better!” That’s pretty special.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite cycling routes around Europe?
I love to ride in Majorca, it is where I do a lot of my training camps and have prepared for big events such as the Tour de France or the Hour record in Majorca. When I can tie it in with the kids’ school holidays it is great, I’ll go and put my hours in on the road and then join them on the beach. Elsewhere in Northern France and Belgium you have the historic but brutal rides such as Paris-Roubaix, the weather is rarely very good, but there’s a joy to cycling those roads in those conditions as well. You have Alps as well and the routes we ride for the Tour and the Giro. They’re so tough, but you’re rewarded with beautiful scenery.
“You have people coming up to you saying things like, “You’ve changed my life, I’ve lost 4 stone and have never felt better!” That’s pretty special.”
Where do you like to ride for pleasure? Do you enjoy riding with family?
I ride with my family every week. We’ll go out together on the roads, or we’ll ride in the velodrome in the family sessions they have there. There’s always a pleasure when I’m on my bike, even when its tough or I can’t quite settle in the saddle. It’s just great to be out there and enjoying the freedom.
Why do you think it is important for you to take young riders/apprentice under your wing?
We created Team WIGGINS to help with the Olympic effort, but also to create a strong platform for young riders to kick on and its their success which has been at the heart of the team so far. People like Chris Boardman were hugely inspiring to me and helped me a great deal when I was younger. So I guess it is a way of giving back to the sport, nobody can do it on their own. We don’t make it a formal thing, I’m just there riding and racing alongside them and together we’re all working towards the Olympics. If they can learn from me and I can help in anyway then that’s great. Then beyond the Wiggins Team I’m about to launch a range of kids bikes with Halfords as well which I’m excited about. It isn’t just about the elite cyclists, whether kids are racing for just going around their mates house cycling is for everyone and our range reflects that, its for girls and boys of all ages and all abilities to get out there and have fun.
“There’s always a pleasure when I’m on my bike, even when its tough or I can’t quite settle in the saddle. It’s just great to be out there and enjoying the freedom.”
Who did you look up to as a youngster? Who were your inspirations?
Unlike the other kids who had footballers on their walls, mine were covered with cyclists like Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain. They’re still heroes of mine now. Miguel came to watch my Hour Record attempt. I met him almost immediately after I broke the record and felt like an 11 year old boy again. I am still totally in awe of him.