The British public were treated to a short introduction to the world of professional cycling from none other than Sir Bradley Wiggins this week. Somewhat incongruously plonked at the end of a line of three actors on Graham Norton’s sofa, a smartly-dressed Wiggins delivered a few of his usual one-liners while answering questions about his sport on a special New Year’s Eve show, which will be available until Wednesday via the iPlayer.
After starting off by telling Norton that everything he does with his son revolves around football, not cycling (“Playing in a muddy field pretending to be in Barcelona. I’m pretending to be Jimmy Bullard from Blackburn”), Wiggins unsurprisingly went on to speak about winning the Tour de France.
He reiterated that he didn’t find riding that 2012 Tour a particularly enjoyable experience. “In some ways you just want to get home,” he said of arriving in Paris in the yellow jersey. “When I look back now, it was an incredible experience, but during it I wasn’t overjoyed every day.”
He described leading out Mark Cavendish for the stage win as being his highlight from that final day.
“The biggest moment on the Champs Elysées wasn’t standing on the podium, winning the Tour de France. It was more leading out one of my best friends, in Mark Cavendish, who won the stage.
"Being able to lead him out – which was a childhood dream of mine; to go across the Place de la Concorde in the yellow jersey and lead the world champion onto the Champs Elysées, who then eventually won the stage - that was more of a dream.
"I crossed the line and they said you’ve won the Tour de France and I was like: ‘Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Cheers. Thanks for that. Nice one.’”
Wiggins then spoke about his plans to finish his career at the Rio Olympics. “I did the Sydney Olympics, what was that, 15 years ago? And that was my first Olympic Games, so I always wanted to end it doing the same thing.”
However, he also took the opportunity to tell Norton and his viewers a little about Paris-Roubaix ahead of his final tilt at that race. “It’s pretty painful. You can never have kids again,” he explained, and if his fellow guests – Liam Neeson, Eddie Redmayne and Anna Kendrick – were starting to get a clearer idea of what road cycling entailed, their education continued following a question later in the show.
“Clearly you’re not stopping at cafés to use the facilities. So do you hold it? What happens?” asked Norton. “You just get it out,” answered Wiggins bluntly, before going into greater detail.
“If it’s raining and it’s freezing cold, you do it in your shorts, because it warms your legs up,” he said. By this point, his fellow guests were looking a little taken aback.
At the end of the show, Wiggins revealed that his New Year plans were for ‘a big beano in Margate’. It was perhaps just as well that he was planning an all-boys night out as earlier on, he had referred to his wife, Cath, as ‘a bit of a panel-beater’ having been asked whether it was true that she always carried his bags for him.
“She clean and jerks 200 kilos – she’s a good girl,” he added, affectionately.