The odds on Bradley Wiggins to be knighted in the New Year’s Honours List have shortened considerably since he became the first British winner of the Tour de France yesterday, according to the online betting odds comparison site, Oddschecker. Sir Chris Hoy, knighted after winning three gold medals in Beijing four years ago, is among those calling for the honour to be bestowed on the Team Sky rider.
Oddschecker's latest showing of odds on Wiggins hearing the words “Arise, Sir Bradley…” reveals that they have come in from 6/1 to approaching even money, according to the latest updates on the website – one bookmaker has him at 6/4, another at 5/4. Should he win time trial gold in London a week on Wednesday, you’d imagine he’d be odds-on.
Wiggins, whose Olympic career began with helping Great Britain clinch bronze in the team pursuit in Sydney in 2000, was named an OBE after winning individual pursuit gold at Athens in 2004, where he also clinched team pursuit silver and Madison bronze.
At Beijing, he won two gold medals in the individual and team pursuits to take his tally to three. Hoy, who won kilo gold in Athens, has four, plus a bronze. Both appear on track to take their personal tallies to seven at London, making them Great Britain’s most successful Olympians in terms of medals won.
Speaking to the media as he was named Great Britain’s flag carrier for Friday’s opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, Hoy was asked if he felt Wiggins, too, should receive a knighthood.
“Any accolades or honours that come his way will be fully deserved,” said the Scot, quoted on Telegraph.co.uk.
“We keep mentioning golden eras, and after Beijing we thought that was as good as things could be, but to have this success in a truly global event such as the Tour de France is remarkable.
“I’ve known Bradley since he was 16 and have seen him go through the ranks to be a champion in every single facet of the sport that he has participated in.
“There’s a side to Bradley you don’t always see, very humorous. He’s a fun guy to be with, but he leads from the front, he can produce the goods.
“He decided he wanted to be Tour de France champion. He is hugely talented, and I think the public have warmed to the way he handled himself and performed for three weeks.
“Any day something could go wrong, a crash, a puncture, and your dream is over. But he produced three weeks of perfect racing in the toughest conditions.
“We are still pinching ourselves at what he and the team have achieved. In the cycling camp, things could not be going much better, training-wise and morale.”
“Cycling has received a huge profile boost and hopefully we can continue that in Olympics. Hopefully it will get even more popular in the UK. We could have so many positives, not just for Olympics, but for the health of the nation and reducing congestion. I hope that can continue.”
One word of caution, however. Given that the Yeomen of the Guard, better known as Beefeaters, are in attendance at investitures, and seeing some of the mutton chop whiskers sported among their number, there’s a chance that the sideburn-sporting Wiggins might get ideas and take to the road with some even more spectacular facial hair in 2013.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.