Sir Bradley Wiggins has left management agency XIX Entertainment to join the likes of multiple Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray on the client list of M&C SaatchiMerlin.
The business describes itself as the “creative talent management” arm of the global M&C Saatchi advertising business.
“I’m delighted to have joined the M&C SaatchiMerlin roster,” said Wiggins, who announced his retirement from professional cycling last month.
The 38-year-old, who said last year that he did not want to be part of the celebrity circuit following retirement, appears to have rethought those plans and is currently filming for the forthcoming series of the Channel 4 winter sports reality TV show The Jump.
He added: “Having now retired, the reach in to broadcasting and developing my own brand will be very important.
“With M&C SaatchiMerlin’s global network and their outstanding record of creating broadcast careers, it gives me huge confidence in their ability to deliver for me.”
Richard Thompson, chairman of M&C SaatchiMerlin, said: “We are proud to be working with Bradley in the next phase of his career.
“Having conquered all before him while in the saddle, we hope to be able to develop Bradley’s huge popularity across the UK and Internationally.
“We believe there is great potential and appetite for brands and broadcasters to work with someone of Bradley’s appeal and fan base.
“With the scale of the M&C Saatchi global network we feel very well positioned to maximise his potential.”
Wiggins signed up with XIX Entertainment, founded by pop impresario Simon Fuller, in November 2013, with plans announced to create a “global cycling venture.”
Since then, the five-time Olympic champion has founded his own Team Wiggins, which competes at UCI Continental level, and has launched his own brand of children’s bikes through Halfords.
But according to the Daily Mail, Wiggins has been unhappy with the level of support XIX Entertainment has given him in recent months as controversy over his use of medicines to treat his asthma and pollen and grass allergies threatens to overshadow his achievements.
After winning the fifth Olympic gold medal of his career at Rio, where he rode the team pursuit, it emerged he had been given therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for otherwise banned drugs ahead of major stage races including the 2012 Tour de France, which he won.
He has also been in the spotlight over the contents of a medical package – claimed to be the decongestant drug, Fluimucil, which is not prohibited – delivered to Team Sky at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné.
Besides seeking to limit the damage to his reputation from those controversies, M&C Saatchi Merlin will also explore commercial and broadcast opportunities on behalf of Wiggins, Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian ever.
Fuller – the man who brought the world the Spice Girls and the Pop Idol TV format – still counts David and Victoria Beckham among his celebrity clients at XIX Entertainment.
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.