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As he prepares to "shock a few people" with mystery package revelations, Wiggins calls out Team Sky, Sir Dave Brailsford, & buzz-word management...

Sir Bradley Wiggins has slammed Team Sky's famous 'marginal gains' philosophy in his first public appearance since breaking his leg on the skiing reality TV show The Jump last month. The Tour de France winner also says that his side of the mystery package story will "shock a few people".

The five-time Olympic gold medalist, who is currently embroiled in the ongoing 'mystery package' scandal that is threatening to undermine many of the values that Team Sky were built upon, told an audience of 300 that he believes that marginal gains are "a load of rubbish," highlighting how much money people had made from the idea.

At a motivational breakfast talk put on by keynote conference company JLA in London, Wiggins also lined-up institutional psychologist and former Team Sky head of medicine, Steve Peters, for criticism, claiming that the widely heralded Chimp Paradox is "utter nonsense".

>Read more: Current Team Sky riders facing accusations over mystery package "outrageous"

Talking about marginal gains, Wiggins said: “I think it’s a load of rubbish, if I’m honest. I do. 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 buzz words – 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 pillow or mattress."

Sir Brad may have been playing up to the audience of corporate-types, but this bout of classic Wiggo bravado appears to be a move to distance himself from his former team's coaching styles while the 'mystery package' investigation continues to unfold.

Digging deeper into the comment he had made earlier about people making "a lot of money" off the back of these ideas, Wiggins claimed that it is all about the talent of the rider underneath all the  buzz-word sprinkles.

>Read more: "Without Dave B, there is no Team Sky" says Chris Froome

"In some ways it’s almost a bit disrespectful for these people to come along and say, ‘Yeah, it’s because we made him sleep on this certain pillow, or he drunk this certain drink before this race’.

"So I think that marginal gains are more for other people maybe to justify their jobs. I think it’s true. Fundamentals – talent, hard work and dedication – are more important. Because that 5% on top – that’s not going to make you win the bike race if you don’t have the other 95% underneath."

"You can overanalyse things but at the end of the day it’s about your ability and whether you’re a better athlete than the other person or not. 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.”

In a separate interview earlier this week Wiggins broke his silence over the ongoing investigation into the 'mystery medical package' that was sent to him at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011.

Appearing on Sky Sport's Saturday morning football show Soccer AM, Wiggins called the entire controversy "horrible".

"It's the worst thing to be accused of when you're a man of my integrity," Wiggins said.

"It's been horrible. But fortunately there's an investigation and I obviously can't say too much because that investigation will run its course and then I'll have my say.

"There's a lot to say, and it's going to shock a few people."

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.

38 comments

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steviemarco [236 posts] 6 months ago
6 likes

I used to train athletics with Steve Peters and he's a lovely bloke. It's easy to say all this now you've retired Wiggo. I do agree with you in that you need 95% talent/hard work but to win a race I think you need every advantage you can get, the other 5%, just like your jiffy bag?!

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Saintyl [18 posts] 6 months ago
8 likes

Has he not just backed up what "marginal gains" are? The other 5%?

 

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drosco [349 posts] 6 months ago
6 likes

Tell the truth, that would shock a few people.

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exilegareth [102 posts] 6 months ago
7 likes

Oh dear. How to be right and wrong, spectacularly, at the same time.

The thing with stuff like marginal gains, or the chimp paradox, is that they are brands, and like all brands, there'sa huge amount of hype behind them, in order to sell them, but actually, there's substance too.

Steve Peters re-packaged a set of ideas that are almost commonplace in terms of psychology, in an attractive, user-friendly metaphor, and sold them. The fact that that is a selfish act on his part (he was trying to make money, not heal the world) doesn't change the fact that there are useful truths in there, and a useful metaphor.

Marginal gains is an interesting way of packing the idea of continuous improvement, of working on every component of performance. It won't make me a world champion, because I'm fat old and slow, and Wiggins is right that you have to have the base right in order to fine tune it with marginal gains, but once you have the base then every little bit helps. Yes, Dave B re-packaged this pretty much boring management practice in a way that made the mundane part of his personal brand, but hey, sportsmanagement isa career of finite length, and he needs to promote himself in order to put money away for the  afterlife of an ex sports manager.

Sounds like Brad is working on his personal brand, as cycling's answer to Jeremy Clarkson.

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beezus fufoon [763 posts] 6 months ago
9 likes
exilegareth wrote:

Sounds like Brad is working on his personal brand, as cycling's answer to Jeremy Clarkson.

the gimp paradox?

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Jackson [373 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
Saintyl wrote:

Has he not just backed up what "marginal gains" are? The other 5%?

Have another guess what the other 5% is

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Saintyl [18 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes
Jackson wrote:
Saintyl wrote:

Has he not just backed up what "marginal gains" are? The other 5%?

Have another guess what the other 5% is

 

Not going to second guess what they are, we all have our opinions/guesses I'm just highlighting the use of the word marginal as being just that.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes
Saintyl wrote:

Has he not just backed up what "marginal gains" are? The other 5%?

 

Yeah this confused me. If he's saying marginal gains are 5% - that's a win. That's huge.

But I don't think he's really saying that the marginal gains aren't a part of cycling. I think he's just saying it's all been massively overplayed for the media so that the top brass look like they're genuises making the medals happen.

 

Brads just saying they're run of the mill managers and trainers and it's actually the athletes that are making the magic happen. 

 

I'd like to see guys like Wiggins crack to the point where they do give us an honest insight into it. We all know how much BS is in cycling, it'd just be nice for an insider to really lets us know what works and what's just plain old shite.

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Saintyl [18 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

Yep couldn't agree more unconstituted.

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Stumps [3496 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

The mystery package diclosure will be nothing spectacular. He's hardly going to say it was a banned substance and run the risk of having his TdF title taken from him.

As for marginal gains, it just another coaches way of explaining how they get the best out of a person.   

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Simon E [3077 posts] 6 months ago
7 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Brads just saying they're run of the mill managers and trainers and it's actually the athletes that are making the magic happen.

Yeah, sure Brad.

A TT specialist transformed into GC contender and TdF winner all just by his own hard graft? Way to insult those people who made it happen, including Brailsford, Peters and Sutton.

Would he have done those bastard-hard velodrome sessions for the TP off his own back? Nah, he'd have said a selection of naughty words to whoever was in the room and walked out, just like he did in the Tour.

What a way to piss on your own legacy.

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kevvjj [249 posts] 6 months ago
7 likes

This from the man who set a new hour world record using every marginal gain in the book, and then some.

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srchar [614 posts] 6 months ago
9 likes

He wants to be a "celebrity" now that he's retired. That's why he appeared on The Jump. Anything he says from this point forward is merely to generate media coverage and can be taken with a rather large pinch of salt.

"Marginal gains is bollocks" makes a headline. Nevermind that he went on to explain that it "only" gave him 5%, thus nullifying the headline. Journos are writing about it and we're discussing it.

Almost makes me want to rush out and buy a Skoda...

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Jem PT [134 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Marginal gains are just that - marginal.

I reckon 5% is marginal too!

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Jackson [373 posts] 6 months ago
1 like
kevvjj wrote:

This from the man who set a new hour world record using every marginal gain in the book, and then some.

Yeah. What would he, the guy who actually set it, know.

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Grahamd [597 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes

Likelihood of getting full facts is marginal.

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imaca [80 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

So he was forced to take medication? That seems to be what he is implying.

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brackley88 [170 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes

In summary:

 

Outspoken, naturally talented athlete says that his success is mainly down to him, rather than the management, equipment innovation, and coaching structures around him. 

 

Our 'golden era' of cycling must have therefore been down to the coincidental emergence of a whole batch of naturally talented, world beating cyclists.  

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s_lim [210 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes

Brad always came across as cagey, not that proud of his TdF win, compared to the other acheivements in his palmares. But all this biting of the hand that fed him, wow. Whenever it all comes out , he's not going to have too many friends

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Yorkshire wallet [1347 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes

There are no mystery packages wearing lycra!

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SingleSpeed [334 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes

So far I have been proved right about SKY doing everything they could within the rulebook using performance enhancing drugs.

I can only hope I'm going to be right that the disgraced cyclist bradley wiggins get's his wins taken from him.

They made me do it I was told to do it...Isn't that the line David Millar took? Unfortunately for Mr Wiggins David Millar was a humble affable chap with big eyes who got away with the sob story, I think Wiggins arrogance is too similar too familiar to the significantly faster, signnificantly better cyclist from Texas.

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check12 [124 posts] 6 months ago
6 likes

Brad brad brad, you got dragged to your tdf win by froome and only won it because he was told to let you, and now this? No class. 

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Edgeley [472 posts] 6 months ago
6 likes

The mystery package was his sandwiches for lunch.  Jam.

And Brad W was so much better than the oppo that even without his 5% of pillow based marginal gains, he would have romped home.   

Can I say that former national treasure Bradley Wiggins might be better off keeping his gob shut rather than coming over as a bit of a selfish and stupid knob?

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dp24 [204 posts] 6 months ago
5 likes
Jackson wrote:

Yeah. What would he, the guy who actually set it, know.

Funny that, because  I certainly don't recall him, at the time, describing things like his specially-treated chain, 3D-printed handlebars, or even the fact that he shaved, as 'rubbish'.

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Liam Cahill [81 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes

Yorkshire wallet wrote:

There are no mystery packages wearing lycra!

Especially white lycra in the rain...

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Jackson [373 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
dp24 wrote:
Jackson wrote:

Yeah. What would he, the guy who actually set it, know.

Funny that, because  I certainly don't recall him, at the time, describing things like his specially-treated chain, 3D-printed handlebars, or even the fact that he shaved, as 'rubbish'.

His 3D printed bars and magic chain were to sell Jaguars and Pinarellos to fat hubbards. You could have put him on any modern pursuit bike and he would have gone the same distance in an hour. That's what I interpret him as getting at here. 

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StoopidUserName [325 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes

I was at the talk. He was entertaining, pretty funny and honest about things up to a point - he obviously didn't discuss the ongoing investigation or anything too controversial...but he did mention the 'death star going into meltdown in the last few months' and a few other things. 

 

People are looking for too deep a meaning over his comments in this thread. It was a talk to various city mamil types, part of his retirement plan to give talks for money and so on (he mentioned this). 

 

And the talk was free to attend, so I didn't have any complaints!

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Bond007 [1 post] 6 months ago
2 likes

Sorry for stating the obvious, Bradley, but a"marginal gains" program in the Team Sky context assumes that they are working with top of their game athletes who want to win. As their name denotes Team Sky performs as a team,much the chagrin of the competition, and dumping on your old team now shows a big lack of style. 

Obviously , a slice of humble pie was not included in your mystery care package.....

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Richard1982 [76 posts] 6 months ago
5 likes

"...when you're a man of my integrity..."

 

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Awavey [327 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
StoopidUserName wrote:

And the talk was free to attend, so I didn't have any complaints!

not even that he labelled Vicky Pendleton as "a bit of a milkshake" ? whatever thats supposed to mean anyway.

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