Wig­gins slates Brails­ford’s mar­ginal gains process

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOR THE RECORD - CHRIS SCOTT

SIR Bradley Wig­gins has dis­missed the mar­ginal gains process at the cen­tre of Bri­tish Cy­cling’s suc­cess un­der Sir Dave Brails­ford as “a load of rub­bish”.

Wig­gins was also crit­i­cal of fel­low Olympic gold medal­list Vic­to­ria Pendle­ton and sports psy­chol­o­gist Dr Steve Peters, who worked with Brails­ford at Bri­tish Cy­cling and Team Sky and cre­ated the “chimp para­dox” model for deal­ing with pres­sure.

For­mer Olympic cham­pion Chris Board­man orig­i­nally headed up Bri­tish Cy­cling’s ‘Se­cret Squir­rel Club’, now known as ‘Room X’ un­der head of tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ment Tony Pur­nell, to find any slight ad­van­tage through mod­i­fi­ca­tions to bike tech­nol­ogy and rid­ers’ cloth­ing.

Wig­gins won eight Olympic medals, in­clud­ing five golds, as well as the Tour de France for Brails­ford’s Team Sky but he said: “A lot of peo­ple made a lot of money out of it and David Brails­ford used it con­stantly as his call­ing card, but I al­ways thought it was a load of rub­bish.

“It’s a bit like the whole chimp thing. At the end of the day, chimp the­o­ries and mar­ginal gains and all these buzz­words. A lot of the time, I just think you have got to get the fun­da­men­tals right: go ride your bike, put the work in, and you’re ei­ther good or you’re not good.

“Some­times in life or in sport, what­ever, you’re ei­ther good at some­thing or you’re not. That’s what makes you a bet­ter ath­lete: your phys­i­cal abil­ity and whether you’ve trained enough – not whether you’ve slept on a cer­tain mat­tress.”

Pendle­ton, who won sprint gold at Bei­jing 2008 and the keirin at Lon­don 2012, has cred­ited Dr Peters as a ma­jor part of her suc­cess.

But Wig­gins said: “Vicky’s a bit of a milk­shake any­way. At the end of the day, it’s about your abil­ity and whether you’re a bet­ter ath­lete than the other per­son. Whether you’ve come to grips with this other per­son liv­ing in­side you, it’s all a bit... well, each to his own. That may work with some peo­ple, but as Roy Keane would say: it’s ut­ter non­sense.”

Wig­gins made no men­tion in the in­ter­view of the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a med­i­cal pack­age de­liv­ered to him at the 2011 Cri­terium du Dauphine.

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