Bradley Wiggins says California victory can help restore US cycling credibility

Team Sky rider enjoying status as one of peloton’s “elder statesmen”

by Simon_MacMichael   May 21, 2014  

Bradley Wiggins (Photosport International)

Sir Bradley Wiggins believes his victory in last week’s Amgen Tour of California can help restore cycling’s credibility in the eyes of the American public in the post-Lance era.

The Team Sky rider, who in 2012 became the first British winner of the Tour de France, also says that achievement now sits more easily on his shoulders and he is now enjoying his role as one of the “elder statesmen of the peloton.”

Speaking to The Telegraph’s Tom Cary, Wiggins, currently staying in Beverly Hills with his wife and children, said his win in California had been the fruit of months of hard work.

“This project, the amount of time I had given over to it… It’s only five months out of your life but it felt longer.

“Just little things like the way I spent my 34th birthday at the end of April. I did 7½ hours on the bike that day in Majorca. I had no breakfast, and didn’t eat anything on the bike all day because I was on a bit of a severe weight-loss thing post-Paris-Roubaix. I was away training, sleeping in a [oxygen] tent in Majorca on my son’s birthday.

“But it’s all worthwhile when you do something like this, the satisfaction that the hard work has paid off. And then you can sit in the most idyllic spot in Beverly Hills and have a gin and tonic and soak it all up.”

Wiggins has said that he thinks people in the US were “robbed” by Armstrong’s doping, and that he feels that as “one of only a handful of clean Tour winners,” he has a role to play to rebuild trust in the sport there.

Asked whether he still felt that way, he said: “Definitely. There’s kind of no one here.

“Well, they’ve got these incredible young riders, future Tour winners in guys like Tejay van Garderen and Joe Dombrowksi, super talented guys like Taylor Phinney, but they are relatively unknown to the wider public.

“You mention cycling to anyone here and the first thing they think of is Lance Armstrong.

“So there is a gap and if I can leave a bit of a mark post-cycling in terms of helping to instil the faith a little bit more – because there are not many of us, Tour winners with no history whatsoever, no mumblings, no rumblings. I mean you get all this garbage on Twitter but actual factual… there is none of that with me and never has been because of the way I have conducted my whole career.”

Wiggins said that he had now settled into his status as a past winner of cycling’s biggest race. “I’m much more proud now to have won the Tour de France than I was maybe 15 months ago,” he said. “And I think it’s kind of inevitable that I will fall into that position, as one of the elder statesmen of the peloton now.

“It’s about respecting the sport. I’m trying to do that with the things I target, whether it’s Paris-Roubaix or this race. I’m quite comfortable with all of that now. The way you conduct yourself and the things that you say during the presentation each day, to the public. It was quite a new role for me here but I really enjoyed it to be honest.”

He added that he had been pleasantly surprised by the fans in California, and the support they had shown Team Sky. “I probably expected the worst, really, in the post-Armstrong era, coming here as a Tour winner.

“But from the moment I got here, the reception has been incredible. The popularity of cycling here is massive. And the popularity of the team is probably better than it is in Europe. That surprised a lot of us.

“There was no negativity. There were no negative comments during the race. It was almost overwhelming the reception that we had, and for myself as an ex-Tour winner. It was just really refreshing.”

Wiggins will remain in California until Thursday, when he heads to Mallorca for a training block that he hopes will result in selection for Team Sky’s line-up at the Tour de France.

14 user comments

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Where does he get this shit from? He is a 50/50 Marmite bloke, half like him, half don't.

Alot of people also don't trust that he's been clean his whole career.

So why does a British rider, on a British team restore US credibility.... Rolling On The Floor

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
21st May 2014 - 11:46

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I think his point is that if the winner is perceived as being clean - and I don't see where you could suggest that he has been less than clean in his career - then perhaps the US public might be willing to believe that the other riders are also clean.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
21st May 2014 - 12:06

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They love us Brits out there. They must have been really pleased that the Yellow Jersey was worn by a Brit throughout, three British stage wins and two Brits in the top of the GC. What's not to like? They had a rider in the top 5 and two stage wins (Canada is the same as USA right?)

posted by AleBeRiding [12 posts]
21st May 2014 - 12:10

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"Alot of people also don't trust that he's been clean his whole career."
Where do YOU get that shit from?

posted by pwake [291 posts]
21st May 2014 - 13:56

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This is exactly Wiggins' point about 'garbage on twitter' (road cc, whatever). People throwing accusations or insinuations around need to be careful

posted by 700c [556 posts]
21st May 2014 - 14:05

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Great sportsman and ambassador don't know what this lot are moaning about.

posted by IanW1968 [154 posts]
21st May 2014 - 14:20

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As an American, I can't quite understand why a good chunk of the British cycling fandom (at least as represented here and on CyclingNews) has such an interest in trashing Wiggins. Sure, he's a bit of a head case, but all elite athletes likely are. But, hell, he comes across at least as a real person with a normal set of neuroses and contradictions, and he's got a fantastic palmares- basically whatever he sets his mind to do, he does. I like the guy, and I can't say I've ever heard the guys I ride with trash him either.

posted by MNgraveur [32 posts]
21st May 2014 - 14:50

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Gkam84 wrote:
Where does he get this shit from? He is a 50/50 Marmite bloke, half like him, half don't.

Alot of people also don't trust that he's been clean his whole career.

Comments like this make me wish comments on road.cc had a dislike button under them. Any evidence or just groundless speculation?

posted by graham_f [95 posts]
21st May 2014 - 14:58

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Gkam84 wrote:
Where does he get this shit from? He is a 50/50 Marmite bloke, half like him, half don't.

Alot of people also don't trust that he's been clean his whole career.

So why does a British rider, on a British team restore US credibility.... Rolling On The Floor

Unlike you, I was out in California for the race last week.

Unlike you, I saw first-hand the good vibes towards Wiggins and to the team in general from the US fans. It was packed outside the team bus at the start and the finish every day. Wiggins signed autographs galore, posed with fans for loads of pics - a hell of a lot of interest and a lot of happy fans. The crowds were busier than for any other team including US Garmin and BMC.

So Gkam, I have a question for you. Why do you troll Sky riders and the team's twitter accounts so regularly? Why do you channel so much energy into all of that? Hate all you like, but surely you have better uses for your energy that all that stuff?

Thinking

posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
21st May 2014 - 18:16

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Takes a marmite bloke to know one, I guess.

posted by Nick T [805 posts]
21st May 2014 - 18:30

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The way Wiggo is going i think he will be in the tour team for 2014 so my Sky team for the race is Froome, Porte, Wiggo, Zandio, Lopez, Kiryienka, Thomas, Dombrowski and Edmondson / Pate.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2714 posts]
21st May 2014 - 20:38

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Sim1 wrote:
So Gkam, I have a question for you. Why do you troll Sky riders and the team's twitter accounts so regularly? Why do you channel so much energy into all of that? Hate all you like, but surely you have better uses for your energy that all that stuff?

Thinking

He doesn't; I hope you enjoy enjoying funding his obsession.


Leviathan of Riderstate

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1252 posts]
21st May 2014 - 22:54

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Gkam...I have to ask. Are you actually 'Hora' in disguise?

posted by andyp [860 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 9:06

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I genuinely think Wiggins is a massive talent who never was focused enough in his early road career, still won medals however, but could not compete on the road in the dope filled 2000's. Now that things are much cleaner and with massive support from Sky, he had a focused few years and actually raced as a leader. I have no doubt that there are other potential Wiggins's scattered through the peloton who are pigeon-holed as super domestiques or such like.

As for doping, I don't think anyone can be catagorically described as clean, but Wiggins has never failed a test. He has been around for years now and has not amassed the kind of suspicion that Armstrong warranted after the same amount of time. I am sure that Sky use lots of techniques such as altitude training and oxygen tents and so on that some may find a little unethical somehow - they have used substances which although dubious (Tramadol) were/are legal and did have a medical use. But I have never heard anything which says that Wiggins or Sky have been actually doping - and unlike several other teams, they have parted company with anyone with a history of doping. The irony is that they then get criticism - unlike the teams which happily re-hire unrepent dopers. I think some critics don't like the fact that Sky race in an organised way which can be taken as boring and have strength in depth to do this. Not many other teams have riders like Porte, Bo-Hagen and Thomas lining up as domestiques. Also there is resentment by some that Sky have an open anti-doping stance (which they then occasionally score a PR own goal by hiring Landers for example) and thus seem to be piously lecturing but then not 100% transparent in the way they promised. But for me, Wiggins is credible and I hope he keeps his racing head back on for at least a few more years.

posted by domofarmfrites [19 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 10:10

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