Cycling may have gone mainstream but we’re still not at ease seeing our stars on the TV judging by the fallout from Bradley Wiggins’s appearance on The Graham Norton Show on New Year’s Eve.
I was flicking through the channels and stumbled across it by accident. It was pretty unassuming, the usual Wiggo banter, no more, no less. Just a bit of fun in the countdown to 2015 that didn’t reflect badly on either the man or his sport. So why did so many cyclists get so upset?
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Anyone familiar with the Norton programme or chat shows in general shouldn’t have been surprised. It wasn’t meant to be a serious interview; it’s comedy and Wiggins was a willing foil for his Irish host. The ploy included showing Cath Wiggins in the audience looking suitably embarrassed when her husband described her as “a bit of a panel beater”.
There were other exchanges. “If it’s raining and it’s freezing cold, you do it in your shorts, because it warms your legs up,” was his advice for on-bike urination. Then on Paris-Roubaix: “It’s pretty painful. You can never have kids again.”
And that was it, a bit of harmless fun designed to remind the nation of who Bradley Wiggins is on the eve of the launch of his new team. It was a job of work, Wiggins was promoting Wiggins and he did it well.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly