UK cy­cling le­gend Wig­gins bows out

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Bradley Wig­gins an­nounced his re­tire­ment from pro­fes­sional cy­cling yes­ter­day, bring­ing the cur­tain down on a ca­reer that saw him be­come one of Bri­tain’s great­est sports­men. The 36-year-old be­came Bri­tain’s first Tour de France win­ner in 2012 and bows out with eight Olympic medals, in­clud­ing five golds, and seven world ti­tles, across track and road cy­cling, to his name. “I have been lucky enough to live a dream and ful­fil 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 in a state­ment on the Face­book page of his Wig­gins team.

“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.”

Wig­gins, nick­named ‘Wiggo’, is Bri­tain’s most dec­o­rated Olympian and 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 Tour. He also jointly holds the world record in the team pur­suit.

His 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 though thick and thin, all as a re­sult of rid­ing a push­bike for a liv­ing, ”Wig­gins added.

“2012 blew my mind and was a gas. Cy­cling has given me ev­ery­thing and I couldn’t have done it with­out the sup­port of my won­der­ful wife Cath and our amaz­ing kids. “2016 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.”

IRREVERENT

Wig­gins’s state­ment was ac­com­pa­nied by a pho­to­graph of his medals and for­mer team jer­seys.

Born in Ghent, Bel­gium to an Aus­tralian cy­clist fa­ther, Gary, and a Bri­tish mother, Linda, Wig­gins was raised in Kil­burn, north­west Lon­don and would be­come an icon of Bri­tish sport.

His ‘mod’ side­burns and irreverent pub­lic pro­nounce­ments made him a beloved fig­ure and he was knighted by Queen El­iz­a­beth II-mak­ing him Sir Bradley-in 2013.

He bowed out at the Six Day of Ghent, city of his birth, 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.

It was re­vealed in Septem­ber that he ob­tained ther­a­peu­tic use ex­emp­tions for the banned sub­stance tri­am­ci­nolone shortly be­fore the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

He has de­nied wrong­do­ing and there is no sug­ges­tion he has bro­ken any rules, but UK Anti-Dop­ing is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

BESANCON: File photo taken on July 09, 2012 shows Stage win­ner, Over­all leader’s yel­low jersey, Bri­tish Bradley Wig­gins, com­pet­ing at the be­gin­ning of the 41.5 km in­di­vid­ual time-trial and ninth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cy­cling race start­ing in Arc-et-Se­nans and fin­ish­ing in Besancon, east­ern France, on July 9, 2012. (In­set) Wig­gins kiss­ing his gold medal dur­ing a press con­fer­ence af­ter win­ning the Lon­don 2012 Olympic Games men’s in­di­vid­ual time trial road cy­cling event in Lon­don.

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