Does Sir Bradley Wiggins get the credit he deserves?

Sir Bradley Wiggins is Britain's greatest ever cyclist: do we appreciate his achievements on the road as much as we should?

He is Britain’s first Tour de France winner, a multiple world champion, and the joint most decorated Olympian in this country’s history.

But two weeks on from his final race for Team Sky at Paris-Roubaix, has Sir Bradley Wiggins got the credit he deserves for his extraordinary career in cycling?

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Shane Sutton, Wiggins’s long-time mentor who will manage his return to the track to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games, believes that Wiggins’s achievements in cycling are not fully appreciated.

Bradley Wiggins's first gold medal individual pursuit Olympics 2008

With one of a number of Olympic medals

“People don’t appreciate Bradley Wiggins for what he’s achieved,” Sutton told Cycling Weekly. “Can Mo Farah win the 100m through to the marathon? No chance.

“This guy’s won everything, from the track through to time trials, from the Madison, team and individual pursuits through to the Tour de France. He’s not just the greatest cyclist Great Britain has ever produced, he’s probably the greatest athlete Great Britain has ever produced.”

Suttons comments echo those of Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford who called Wiggins one of the country’s greatest when he finished 18th in Roubaix behind winner John Degenkolb.

Bradley Wiggins in the 2015 Paris-Roubaix

On the attack in the 2015 Paris-Roubaix. Photo: Graham Watson

However Wiggins sits third in the Cycling Weekly all-time list of British pro winners behind Mark Cavendish and Chris Boardman; both have more victories to their name.

Of course there are also the names of Tom Simpson, Barry Hoban and Robert Millar to take into account (not least his contemporaries on the track, Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton). And could Wiggins even have achieved more on the road that he did?

“I believe that he spent a lot of years wasting his career as a road rider,” Sutton said. “He knows that, I know that. He could have applied himself a lot more and had a lot more under his belt. But does he need any more?”

An appearance at the Tour de Yorkshire next weekend for his new Wiggins team, followed by an attempt at the hour record on June 7; Wiggins is yet to fully bow out from cycling. Indeed there is a good chance he will bolster his already illustrious palmares even further.

Bradley Wiggins on stage 3b of the 2015 3-Days of De Panne

A win in the ITT at The Three Days of De Panne showed he’s still the benchmark in time trials. Photo: Graham Watson

Perhaps to fully appreciate Wiggins’s legacy in the sport, we need to wait for his riding career to come to a complete conclusion. If all goes according to plan, that will be at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August next year.

“The guy’s a legend; people need to start realising we’ve got a legend, and he hasn’t left the building yet!” Sutton added. “We have got the Liam Gallagher of cycling here: he’s a great character, he’s a winner, at certain times he’s humble, at certain times he’s a prat. We’ve got the real deal.

Tour de France - Stage 19

“Brad has propelled the sport and us all to a position in Britain that none of us could have imagined. It’s propelled everybody to mega star status. We owe him a debt of gratitude; I know I owe him and I really appreciate the opportunity he’s given me.

“If Brad applies himself the way he does apply himself, it would be a brave man to bet against him succeeding in Rio.”

From the early days with FDJ through to his extraordinary exploits with Team Sky, this week’s edition of Cycling Weekly features a full retrospective of Sir Bradley Wiggins’s road career.

With exclusive interviews with his coaches, former teammates and those who know him best – alongside intimate images from his career and inside Team Sky – the magazine is on sale from April 23.

You can subscribe online here or purchase the digital edition here.