British Cycling has contacted Sir Bradley Wiggins to offer him "full support", following allegations that he was sexually groomed by a cycling coach when he was 13.
Wiggins told Mens Health UK he had no one to talk to as a teenager, so instead had to bury what he later confirmed in the interview as sexual grooming.
Wiggins said: "I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that.”
British Cycling confirmed its safeguarding team has reached out to the former Tour de France winner, with a spokesperson also encouraging other victims of abuse to seek help.
The British Cycling spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned by the matter raised by Sir Bradley Wiggins and our safeguarding team has made contact with him today to offer our full support.
“We would encourage anybody who has suffered abuse or has concerns about the welfare of others – regardless of when the incident took place – to utilise the support offered both by our trained team at British Cycling and the dedicated NSPCC Helpline, which in turn helps us to ensure that our sport is a safe and welcoming place for all.”
A violent relationship with his stepfather and the criticism he received for simply wearing cycling clothing meant Wiggins didn't have any support at home, either.
The NSPCC commended the "courage" and "bravery" Wiggins has shown in speaking out, discussing the long-term impacts abuse can have on someone, regardless of how long ago it occurred.
Michelle North, head of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said: “It takes a lot of courage to speak out about sexual abuse and Sir Bradley Wiggins has shown real bravery in revealing how he was groomed as a young cyclist by his coach who should have been protecting him.
“Sports coaches hold a great deal of power and influence over the children in their care and can all too easily exploit this trust to groom and abuse them.
“It’s common for victims to feel guilt and shame or to even be unaware that they are being abused and some may not come to accept it until decades later but nonetheless the impact can be devastating and long lasting.”
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