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Tour de France champion covered event losses from own pocket

The Bradley Wiggins Foundation is being wound down, it was recently announced, but questions remain about the costs of two of the organisation's three major fund-raising events, which left Wiggins himself making up the shortfall.

Two Ride With Brad sportives, staged in 2012 and 2013, brought in almost £120,000 but cost nearly £150,000 to put on, according to the foundation's accounts. Only the Yellow Ball, celebrating Wiggins' Tour de France victory, and his own donations were significant sources of funding for the foundation.

The blink-and-you'll-miss-it announcement of end of the Foundation came in a release from British Cycling detailing five Go-Ride clubs that were to receive grants of £1,000 each from the foundation.

Wiggins said: “I’m in the process of winding down my Foundation now as I concentrate on preparations for Rio 2016. I’m a racer not a fund raiser you know.

"I’ll always support the grass roots and encourage young people to take up healthy sports like cycling and I want to thank everyone who’s helped me raise funds for the Foundation over the last couple of years.”

The Wiggins Foundation was set up in May 2012, before Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France, with the broad aims of "encouraging participation in sport" and "the provision of facilities and equipment to individuals, clubs, local communities or schools".

The foundation put its name to the Ride With Brad sportives in 2012 and 2013, organised by Pennine Events, and held the 'Yellow Ball' in 2012, a fundraiser that celebrated Wiggins's Tour de France victory.

According the foundation's accounts for the period October 4 2012 to April 4 2014 those three events brought in £238,364. In that period the foundation made grants of £57,965.

The foundation spent £158,751 to raise that money: £148,080 on the Ride With Brad sportives and £10,671 on the Yellow Ball. The Yellow Ball generated £76,485, but the sportives earned just £119,301.

Wiggins himself made up the shortfall between the cost and income of the sportives, but riders who took part thinking that some of their entry fees were going to develop sport will probably be disappointed that it was swallowed up in event costs.

Figures are not available for the first Ride With Brad sportive, but organisers said the second attracted "just shy of 1,000 cyclists", who paid £40 per head for the 160km and 100km rides, and £35 for the 50km route.

The annual report sums up the costs and incomes:

During the period, donations of £42,578 were received, a majority of which were from Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Two main fundraising events took place during the period. Firstly, Ride with Brad - this event took place in both 2012 and 2013 respectively, but unfortunately resulted in an overall loss of £28,779, which Sir Bradley Wiggins covered personally to ensure there was no loss to the charity.

The second event was the Yellow Ball, which resulted in a surplus of £65,814. A majority of these funds were used to make grants to individuals.

Overall, there is a surplus of £19,248 for the period.

Pennine Events has not responded to a request to speak about the Ride With Brad sportives, and there appears to be no way of contacting the foundation. Emailling the address on the foundation's website generates an automatic response that appears to have been used since 2013 and there's no trace of its Twitter account and Facebook page.

Almost £150,000 would on the face of it a seem like a very large amount of money to stage two sportives. One event organiser told road.cc he was confident he'd be able to run a series of seven or eight events for that cost. Only closed roads would account for costs that high, he said. According to participants, the Ride With Brad events were run on open roads.

According to Pennine Event's website, the event included an accompanying "large sports festival" which may account for some of the additional costs. The event website is no longer available, but according to a version archived in October 2013 sports featured included kids' cycling, fencing, rugby, and a range of others provided by Pendle Leisure Trust and local clubs.

With donations to clubs and athletes and its support of the Wiggle Honda women's team, there's no doubt that the Bradley Wiggins Foundation did some good work in its short existence. But riders who took part in the Ride With Brad sportives may well feel they deserve an explanation of why none of their entry fees made it into the foundation's coffers.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.