As Wiggo Foundation winds down questions arise over £150k bill for Ride With Brad sportives

Tour de France champion covered event losses from own pocket

The Bradley Wiggins Foundation is being wound down, it was recently announced, but questions remain about the costs of two of the organisation's three major fund-raising events, which left Wiggins himself making up the shortfall.

Two Ride With Brad sportives, staged in 2012 and 2013, brought in almost £120,000 but cost nearly £150,000 to put on, according to the foundation's accounts. Only the Yellow Ball, celebrating Wiggins' Tour de France victory, and his own donations were significant sources of funding for the foundation.

The blink-and-you'll-miss-it announcement of end of the Foundation came in a release from British Cycling detailing five Go-Ride clubs that were to receive grants of £1,000 each from the foundation.

Wiggins said: “I’m in the process of winding down my Foundation now as I concentrate on preparations for Rio 2016. I’m a racer not a fund raiser you know.

"I’ll always support the grass roots and encourage young people to take up healthy sports like cycling and I want to thank everyone who’s helped me raise funds for the Foundation over the last couple of years.”

The Wiggins Foundation was set up in May 2012, before Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France, with the broad aims of "encouraging participation in sport" and "the provision of facilities and equipment to individuals, clubs, local communities or schools".

The foundation put its name to the Ride With Brad sportives in 2012 and 2013, organised by Pennine Events, and held the 'Yellow Ball' in 2012, a fundraiser that celebrated Wiggins's Tour de France victory.

According the foundation's accounts for the period October 4 2012 to April 4 2014 those three events brought in £238,364. In that period the foundation made grants of £57,965.

The foundation spent £158,751 to raise that money: £148,080 on the Ride With Brad sportives and £10,671 on the Yellow Ball. The Yellow Ball generated £76,485, but the sportives earned just £119,301.

Wiggins himself made up the shortfall between the cost and income of the sportives, but riders who took part thinking that some of their entry fees were going to develop sport will probably be disappointed that it was swallowed up in event costs.

Figures are not available for the first Ride With Brad sportive, but organisers said the second attracted "just shy of 1,000 cyclists", who paid £40 per head for the 160km and 100km rides, and £35 for the 50km route.

The annual report sums up the costs and incomes:

During the period, donations of £42,578 were received, a majority of which were from Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Two main fundraising events took place during the period. Firstly, Ride with Brad - this event took place in both 2012 and 2013 respectively, but unfortunately resulted in an overall loss of £28,779, which Sir Bradley Wiggins covered personally to ensure there was no loss to the charity.

The second event was the Yellow Ball, which resulted in a surplus of £65,814. A majority of these funds were used to make grants to individuals.

Overall, there is a surplus of £19,248 for the period.

Pennine Events has not responded to a request to speak about the Ride With Brad sportives, and there appears to be no way of contacting the foundation. Emailling the address on the foundation's website generates an automatic response that appears to have been used since 2013 and there's no trace of its Twitter account and Facebook page.

Almost £150,000 would on the face of it a seem like a very large amount of money to stage two sportives. One event organiser told road.cc he was confident he'd be able to run a series of seven or eight events for that cost. Only closed roads would account for costs that high, he said. According to participants, the Ride With Brad events were run on open roads.

According to Pennine Event's website, the event included an accompanying "large sports festival" which may account for some of the additional costs. The event website is no longer available, but according to a version archived in October 2013 sports featured included kids' cycling, fencing, rugby, and a range of others provided by Pendle Leisure Trust and local clubs.

With donations to clubs and athletes and its support of the Wiggle Honda women's team, there's no doubt that the Bradley Wiggins Foundation did some good work in its short existence. But riders who took part in the Ride With Brad sportives may well feel they deserve an explanation of why none of their entry fees made it into the foundation's coffers.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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