11 years ago – back before he was a Sir, before he’d won the Tour de France and when he ‘only’ had one Olympic Games gold medal – Bradley Wiggins took part in the Bec CC Hill-climb event in Surrey.
The famous race against the clock held on White Lane in Surrey was in its 50th edition in 2005, and Wiggins agreed to take part in memorial to the event’s long-time organiser, Ron Beckett – father of current organiser Garry Beckett – who had passed away earlier that year.
At that time, Wiggins was riding for French squad Credit Agricole, and was known far more as a track rider than for anything he had achieved on the road at that point. The previous year, Wiggins had scored his first Olympic gold in Athens, winning the now defunct individual time trial as well as silver in the team pursuit and bronze in the Madison. It’s fair to say that he wasn’t really known as a climber.
As you can see from this video clip – made in the days before High Definition, we add as way of apology – Wiggins is sporting full green Credit Agricole issue leggings, and riding a bike that appears to have a large saddle pack swinging about on it.
Wiggins’s appearance at the event was highly popular, with many riders turning out to see him tackle the hideous, steep climb on the chalk face of the North Downs. Despite his decidedly leisurely pace, he finished mid-table. Jody Crawforth (Evans RT) won the event.
Keen-eyed observers will also spot time trial multi-champion Michael Hutchinson swapping Lycra for lens as he photographs competitors.
After a quiet 2006 season following his Bec CC appearance, Wiggins’s career on the road and track steadily grew as he won world titles, a host of prestigious races and became the first British rider to win the Tour de France in 2012.
Given the events of the past decade, it is now a curiosity to watch old footage of Wiggins climbing a hill steadily in the green kit of a French team.
The Bec CC hill-climb takes place every year, and you can find out more about the event on Bec CC’s website.