Further proof of Britain’s love affair with cycling is hardly needed, but when Bradley Wiggins is signed by the man behind David Beckham and the Spice Girls, it really proves just how mainstream bike riding has become.
After many months of speculation, Wiggins has joined Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, the management company whose clients also include Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton, along with that former footballer and his wife’s girl power group.
If you doubt Wiggins’s star can really shine brighter, consider how well the Fuller effect has worked for Andy Murray, once the undisputed most miserable sportsman in Britain.
Although it took several years, the new-style Murray is a model sports star, and tennis is certainly prospering as a result. Had Wimbledon been won by a thoroughly unlikeable British player, it would have been a wasted opportunity. Every sport needs positive role models to prosper, as Sir Bradley has already proved in cycling.
Fuller is credited for ‘turning people into brands’. At present, Wiggins has earnt in excess of £5 million from Team Sky and Fred Perry. He says he won’t sell shampoo (unlike Cav) and he doesn’t do game shows. That was before we had Brand Bradley.
Will we like the new-look Wiggo? Then again, if it puts more bums on saddles, who cares?
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly