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"Banter" goes wrong as compere catches Tour star "unawares"...

Sir Bradley Wiggins’ tarnished public image took another blow last night when it emerged he had made an explicit remark at a dinner in support of charity Barnado’s.

According to the Daily Star, the Tour de France winner was approached by compere Jon Hammond as one of his cycling shirts went up for auction. Wiggins’ face appeared on the big screen at the luxury Rudding Park Hotel near Harrogate and he said: “You’ve got a posh voice. I like posh voices. S*** me off.”

Last night a spokesman for Wiggins’ management company said: “There had been some friendly banter beforehand and Bradley was caught unawares by the auctioneer. We’d like to apologise to anyone who was offended by his language.”

According to the report, Wiggins was attending the £300-a-seat Firecracker Ball fundraiser for children’s charity Barnado’s, which took place on November 9.

Guests said drink had been flowing “extremely freely” but Wiggins is said not to have been drunk.

Nevertheless, the remark did not go down well with other guests.

Business director David Parkin said: “Initially there was just stunned silence. It was bizarre and shocking.

“The chap sitting next to me said: ‘Before tonight he was my hero, but not anymore'.

“It was completely the wrong time and place to say something like that.

“People were completely disgusted by him.”

The 2013 Firecracker Ball raised £230,000 for Barnado’s, including £5,000 from the sale of Wiggins’ jersey.

Wiggins has been in the news recently as a result of revelations in David Walsh’s new book Inside Team Sky. Wiggins is alleged not to have given any of his 2012 Tour de France win bonus to Chris Froome, despite paying other team members for their help, until Sir Dave Brailsford intervened.

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.