Sir Bradley Wiggins says that one of the great benefits of retiring has been that he has been able to put on some weight. He says it no longer affects him when “the sick world of cycling” says, “you’ve let yourself go a bit.”
Speaking during Eurosport’s coverage of the Giro d’Italia, Wiggins said of the culture of pro cycling: “I’ve put 10 kilos on because I was severely underweight as a 6ft3in man. Stop this rubbish!”
"People say 'you've let yourself go'... no I haven't! I've put 10kg on because I was severely underweight"
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) May 31, 2019
Wiggins weighed 72kg for his final overall stage race victory at the 2014 Tour of California and was listed on the Team Sky website as weighing 69kg.
As we all know, power-to-weight is the yardstick by which professional cyclists are measured. The lighter you are while putting the same power through the pedals, the quicker you’ll climb. If your job involves attempting to ride up mountain passes quicker than anyone else, it’s a pretty major concern.
Wiggins earned the nickname ‘Twiggo’ when he turned up for the 2009 Tour de France 6kg lighter than the previous time he’d ridden the race in 2007. Countless articles have detailed the rider’s diet during the period of his career when he was competing for Grand Tours. (Some people have also pointed to the potential weight loss effects of triamcinolone, the asthma drug used by Sir Bradley Wiggins under a therapeutic use exemption before the Tour de France in 2011 and 2012 and before the Giro d’Italia in 2013.)
Wiggins says that gaining weight is part of the process of letting go of his cycling career.
“You hang onto this perception of the person you were for the first 36 years of your life and you’ve got the rest of your life to live. You’ve got to let it go and redefine yourself and make something else of your life.”
He now says that three years since retiring, he can “see [cycling] for what it is” and “let that ego go.”