Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have lashed out at British Cycling – including criticising the governing body for requesting the return of kit including the time trial bike on which Wiggins won Olympic gold at London 2012.
The pair launched their broadside at the governing body in a Q& session on Instagram, reports The Guardian, citing a report on Procycling.com.
Issues they addressed included Cavendish not being selected for the Tokyo Olympics, now postponed until next year.
Cavendish, who won silver in the omnium behind Italy’s Elia Viviani at Rio four years ago, said: “It’s hard for me to go. British Cycling have been … they realised now they don’t want to be in the position where they have to not take me.
“They said to me: ‘You haven’t done any World Cups’. When have I had to do World Cups?”
In response, Wiggins – who twice partnered Cavendish to world championship success in the Madison, an event now reintroduced to the Olympic programme, said: “That’s the thing that’s lacking now in British Cycling: someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.
“It’s all about box ticking. With you it was just a case of opening a few doors so you could get qualified, knowing you would deliver on the day, which you do and always did – three world titles [on the track], Olympic medal and all that.
“That’s sort of been taken away now. They’d rather someone qualified for all the World Cups, then finished 10th in the Olympics. I think it’s shit, to be honest, but hey, cycling has changed so much.”
Revealing how British Cycling had asked him to return the London 2012 time trial bike, Wiggins revealed that he had declined to do so, giving them a forthright response.
“They didn’t have a choice with me,” he explained. “I’m f*cking taking it, it’s mine, I f*cking did it, I’m having it.”
Recalling how he too had been asked to return kit, Cavendish said: “I’ve still got a skinsuit but they took the skinsuits back. What are we going to do? Show it off to people and say ‘copy this’?”
Wiggins said that he had received a similar request: “I’ve still got my skinsuit as well,” he said.
“They’re not having it. F*ck off. Try and get it from me. They try and take it back and it’s like, well, we did it, we grafted … These are my memories.”
The pair competed in the Madison together the last time it was included on the Olympic programme at Beijing 2008 but despite being world champions in the event at the time, finished well out of contention for the medals.
Wiggins had already taken two gold medals in Beijing in the team and individual pursuits, and Cavendish, who had cut short his participation at the Tour de France to head to China, was reported afterwards to have believed that his team-mate had lost focus before the event they were riding together.
In 2012, Wiggins, fresh from Tour de France victory, supported Cavendish in the road race, but the Manx sprinter was dropped on the final ascent of Box Hill as a large group of riders got away.
Wiggins’ Olympic career came to an end at Rio, where he helped Team GB retain its team pursuit title to claim the fifth gold medal of his career.
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.