Cycling legend Wiggins bows out
Cycling legend Bradley Wiggins, Britain’s first Tour de France winner and the country’s most decorated Olympian, announced his retirement on Wednesday saying he had “reached the end of the road”.
The 36-year-old who won the 2012 Tour bows out with eight Olympic medals, including five golds, and seven world titles in track and road cycling.
“I have been lucky enough to live a dream and realize my childhood aspiration of making a living and a career out of the sport I fell in love with at the age of 12,” Wiggins said on his Facebook page.
“I’ve met my idols and ridden with and alongside the best for 20 years. I have worked with the world’s best coaches and managers, who I will always be grateful to for their support.”
The announcement came amid new scrutiny over therapeutic exemptions for banned substances Wiggins took during his peak years.
No allegations of wrongdoing have been leveled against Wiggins, nicknamed ‘ Wiggo’, who carved out his place in history as the only cyclist to have won world and Olympic gold medals on both track and road.
His other achievements include the world track hour record, set in June 2015, and wearing the leader’s jersey in each of the three Grand Tours.
He also jointly holds the world record in the team pursuit.
Wiggins’ finest hour came in 2012, when he followed up Tour de France success by winning time-trial gold at the 2012 Olympics in his home city of London.
“What will stick with me forever is the support and love from the public through thick and thin, all as a result of riding a bike for a living,” Wiggins said.
“It was a gas in 2012; it blew my mind. Cycling has given me everything and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wonderful wife Cath and our amazing kids.
“This is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards, feet on the ground, head in the clouds. Kids from Kilburn don’t win Olympic Golds and Tour de Frances! They do now.”
Bob Howden, president of British Cycling, said Wiggins has assured his place in history, saying “few sports people have had the impact on life in this country as Sir Bradley Wiggins”.
“He retires as one of British sport’s great champions, not just for the medals and the sheer diversity of races he won but also for the way in which he used his achievements to inspire so many people to become active by getting on their bikes.”
Born in Ghent, Belgium, to an Australian cyclist father and a British mother, Wiggins was raised in Kilburn, northwest London, and rose to become a British sports icon.
His stylish sideburns and irreverent public pronouncements made him a beloved figure and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2013.
Wiggins bowed out at the Ghent Six Day last month, having taken his tally of Olympic gold medals to five with victory in the team pursuit at the Rio de Janeiro Games.
But the final months of his career have been overshadowed by whispers about shady practices during his time with Team Sky, which coincided with the most successful period of his career.