Sir Bradley Wiggins has signed a joint venture agreement with impresario Simon Fuller - the man who built 'Brand Beckham' - to build a “global cycling venture,” although no specific details of what that might involve have been made public yet.
News of the tie-up between the four-time Olympic gold medallist and 2012 Tour de France champion and the man who also brought the world the Spice Girls and Pop Idol was announced yesterday by XIX Entertainment, set up by Fuller in 2010.
Wiggins joins stars from the worlds of sport and entertainment on its client list, which includes household names such as footballer David Beckham and his wife Victoria, tennis star Andy Murray and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton.
In a press release the agency said that its partnership with the Team Sky rider “aims to take advantage of the growth in global cycling participation and Wiggins' own unique position as one of the sport's most successful and iconic figures, to create innovative business opportunities worldwide.”
It did not outline what those opportunities might include, although it did say that with Wiggins aiming for a fifth Olympic gold medal at Rio in 2016, Fuller would work with him ”to capitalize on the achievement and profile of appearing in his fifth consecutive Olympics.”
In May last year, the cyclist launched the Bradley Wiggins Foundation that aims to encourage youngsters to become involved in sport, and it also backs the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Team.
Fuller has moved well beyond his roots in the music industry to develop business interests in sports and fashion, amassing an estimated £375 million fortune on the way, and is widely perceived by his peers as combining vision with acumen.
His involvement in building what has come to be known as ‘Brand Beckham’ may point towards what he has in mind for Wiggins – while the latter endorses Fred Perry clothing, it’s certainly not inconceivable that in future he might seek to strike out on his own with a label for use on or off the bike, to give just one potential opportunity.
Reflecting on the new partnership, Wiggins, who missed this year’s Tour de France but returned to clinch the overall victory in September’s Tour of Britain, said: "I admire Simon's fearless mindset and proven ability to create new possibilities.
“I am proud of my career to date but still feel there is much to accomplish, both personally and for cycling as a whole.
“I know Simon and his team are the best people to help me do that".
Fuller commented: "Bradley is an inspiring man of the people, who has endeared himself to followers worldwide through the scale and manner of his success.
“He enjoys both an extraordinary past and a clear and ambitious view of the future through to Rio and beyond.
“We are thrilled to be partnering him at this exciting time for him and the sport," he added.
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.