Sir Bradley Wiggins will bring the curtain down on a glittering career in November in the city he was born in, heading across the English Channel to Belgium to ride the Six Days of Ghent, an event that as a toddler he saw his late father Gary compete in.
Before that, there will be a chance for home fans to see the man who is now Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian with eight medals – five of them gold – when he lines up at the Tour of Britain.
The 36-year-old, who in 2012 became the first British rider to win the Tour de France and a week and a half later followed that up with Olympic time trial gold in London, has come away with gold from his last four Olympics.
“It’s all just a relief,” said Wiggins, quoted in The Sun. “I’m thinking, ‘Thank f*ck I don’t have to wake up on Monday and have to have this burden on me’. It’s gone now.
“After 16 years and five gold medals, I wanted it to end like this. I’m not going to Tokyo in 2020. I’d love to but I couldn’t take another four years of this, all those early mornings in December in Manchester with crap skinsuits and crap helmets, because they only bring out the good gear for the big events.
“So I’ll go home on Monday, see the kids, get out on my bike and then do the Tour of Britain in a couple of weeks.
“Then, in November, my last race will be the Six Days of Ghent.
He continued: “That’s my first memory of cycling, watching dad compete. It feels like the right place to bring it all to an end.”
Four years ago in London when Sir Chris Hoy won his sixth gold medal – still a record for a Briton – he was immediately congratulated by his own sporting hero, five-time Olympic champion rower, Sir Steve Redgrave.
Both men are in Rio as part of the BBC commentary team, and both were at the velodrome to watch Wiggins make history on Friday.
“It was lovely that Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Chris Hoy were the first two people I bumped into when I came off the track,” he said.
“Have I superseded what Chris has done? No,” insisted Wiggins. “I might have eight medals to his seven but who counts bronzes? He has six golds.
“But I’ve been an Olympic champion for 12 years and I’ll wake up tomorrow morning still an Olympic champ.
“It’s the first team I’ve been in where everyone brought the same to the table.”
Wiggins also denied that there had been a rift between him and Mark Cavendish, whose challenge in the omnium starts tomorrow but did not ride in any rounds of the team pursuit, meaning he missed out on a medal despite being the reserve rider for the squad.
“The other day he was hugging me and telling me he loves me,” said Wiggins, who in March partnered Cavendish to world championship victory in the Madison in London.
“We gave him the opportunity [to ride the team pursuit] at the training camp in Newport to come into the team and he didn’t deliver.
“After being together as a team for 18 months, we couldn’t afford any risks. He knew that and knows I didn’t freeze him out,” Wiggins added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.