Sir Bradley Wiggins says that not going back to try and win the Tour de France again following his 2012 victory remains his greatest disappointment.
After the route for the 2013 Tour de France was announced, Sir Dave Brailsford said that Chris Froome would be Team Sky's designated leader.
Brailsford argued that the more mountainous course would suit Froome better than Wiggins, whose 2012 victory had been based around dominance in the time trials.
The decision was contentious and throughout the early part of that season, Wiggins stated on several occasions that he would like to lead Sky at the Tour instead of, or as well as, at the Giro d’Italia.
As it was, he sat out the race with a knee injury and Froome took the first of his four victories.
Speaking at the time, Wiggins conceded that he might never target overall victory in the Tour de France again, citing the sacrifices that he and his family had to make and acknowledging that Froome was becoming Sky’s undisputed team leader.
“There has been a natural selection this year through Chris's performances and my performances that he warrants being the team leader; and if he wins the Tour, that continues through to next year,” he said.
“I can live with that. I didn't go to the altitude camp before the Giro because I wanted to be with my family; the kids are getting older and I like watching [his son] Ben play rugby and other things."
Speaking to the Guardian this week, Wiggins said that failing to return to the Tour to try and win it was his biggest disappointment.
He also acknowledged that some of his most embarrassing moments came during that difficult period.
“Post 2012, I had a few hissy fits, throwing my bike on the floor, things like that, and they are all now on YouTube.”
Wiggins’ love for cycling remains, however, as evidenced by his fondness for memorabilia.
He says the most expensive thing he’s bought was a pink leader’s jersey from the 1953 Tour of Italy which belonged to Swiss rider Hugo Koblet. “I spent £45,000.”
As for his most treasured possession: “When I was 14, I bunked off school to watch my hero, a British rider called Sean Yates, take the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. I have that jersey.”
Wiggins will be in Yorkshire for the World Championships next week (joking that he ‘needs a visa’ to get across the border from Lancashire to Yorkshire). Coinciding with this is the latest date on his Bradley Wiggins: An Evening With tour, which is at the Harrogate Royal Hall on Monday.
“It’s not about me telling the story for my own ego, it’s about telling the story of who went before us,” he told The Yorkshire Post.
“Cycling hasn’t always been like this, there hasn’t always been the platform. Some of the most talented riders this country has ever produced never got the opportunity the likes of myself, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome had with Team Sky.
“Take Chris Walker, one of my heroes growing up, if he and Dave Rayner were around today in a team like Sky, they would have done the same as us, but at that time you had to go to France. Chris had a family so he chose to go and get a proper job.
“It’s unfortunate that their generation didn’t get the opportunities we did. Some riders will never know what that was like and will almost take it for granted.
“So I feel a duty to tell the story of what went before. It’s not that we were better than them. They were just as talented, if not more talented than us – it’s just we had the opportunities they never did.
“In the same way Lizzie Deignan can make a living out of cycling – to have a baby and then come back to competing is phenomenal and a mark of how far women’s cycling has come when you think of where it was.
“It’s about telling that story, telling the history of cycling and our part in it, because without them we wouldn’t have a world championship in Yorkshire this month.
“I feel a duty to tell the story of the sport that I love that has given me everything in my life. It truly has been a saviour for me and also my one true passion.
“I want to send the audience away having learned something and to have maybe changed their perception of me.”