WIGGINS DESCENDED INTO DRINK AND DEPRESSION POST-ATHENS

Bradley Wiggins's first gold medal individual pursuit Olympics 2008

Bradley Wiggins went on a nine-month drinking binge after the Athens Olympics, according to the serialisation of his autobiography in today?s Guardian.

In his book, Bradley Wiggins: In Pursuit of Glory Wiggins admits to drinking to excess at the post Olympic parties and ceremonies in 2004, but how that then transformed in to something far more serious.

During the off-season Wiggins found himself with nothing to do as he spent around two months off of his bike following his last place finish in the Grand Prix des Nations time trial in France.

With time to spare, and his wife Cath out at work, Wiggins went to his local. Waiting at the door at 11 in the morning and knocking back 12 or 13 pints before heading home to get the dinner on. During dinner some more wine would be consumed.

Wiggins admitted that this fall in to depression and ensuing alcohol abuse came about as he had no idea what to do next. At the age of 24 he had achieved his life?s ambition and didn?t know where to go next. He was also left feeling undervalued as the Olympic glory hadn?t brought ?copper bottomed commercial offers, endorsements [or] opportunities to earn real cash.?

BREAKING BOARDMAN?S RECORD

In Wednesday?s serialisation, Wiggins told the tale of his stunning form at the pre-Olympic Newport training camp had come crashing down thanks to a unexplained virus.

Wiggins had ridden a full four kilometre pursuit in training, going faster than Chris Boardman?s time of 4:11-114 minutes set in the superman position in 1996, although Wiggins doesn?t give the time.

But the following day he woke up and could barely move, feeling as if he was paralysed as he lay in bed at the Celtic Manor in Newport. Blood tests confirmed a virus, but there was little he or BC doctor Roger Palfreeman could do. It was six days before he was back on his bike.

This story confirms the rumours that were coming from the Olympic training camp at the time. Wiggins had been in stunning form, but it had come too early, and in Beijing he was nowhere near 100 per cent. That he still won the pursuit at a canter is testimony to his dominance of modern day pursuiting, but this admission leaves a big ?what if? hanging over the Madison.

Wiggins was hanging on in the two-man race, and the poor result was the reason behind his falling out with team mate Mark Cavendish. Wiggins admits that the pair still haven?t spoken since the race on August 19, and Wiggins has now left the Columbia team that is to be built around Cavendish next year.

The serialisation continues in tomorrow?s Guardian newspaper. Bradley Wiggins: In Pursuit of Glory is now on sale for £18.99. Published by Orion.

RELATED LINKS

Wiggins cruises to pursuit win

3-53.314 a new world record for British team pursuiters

Can these legs make an Olympic legend

British track stars raring to go

Wiggins and Cav miss out on Olympic Madison

CW's Olympics homepage

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Simon Richardson
Simon Richardson

Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers. 


Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!


SIMON IS CURRENTLY RIDING

Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace

TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars

Gravel bike: N/A

Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel