Sir Bradley Wiggins has confirmed his retirement from professional cycling, saying “2016 is the end of the road for this chapter.”
The Tour de France winner posted a photo on Instagram showing jerseys and medals from his many achievements during his 20-year career, with a short message explaining that he was moving on from racing full time.
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“I have been lucky enough to live a dream and fulfil my childhood aspiration of making a living and a career out of the sport I fell in love with at the age of 12,” Wiggins said.
“What will stick with me forever is the support and love from the public though thick and thin, all as a result of riding a pushbike for a living. 2012 blew my mind and was a gas. Cycling has given me everything and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wonderful wife Cath and our amazing kids.
“2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards, “feet on the ground, head in the clouds” kids from Kilburn don’t win Olympic Golds and Tour de Frances [sic]’! They do now.”
Wiggins, 36, was strongly rumoured to be calling time on his career after winning the Ghent Six Day in November with Mark Cavendish, but declined to confirm whether that would definitely be the end of the line for him.
He ends his career as one of Britain’s greatest ever cyclists, not only winning the 2012 Tour de France and becoming the first Briton to do so, but won five Olympic gold medals on road and track as well as numerous world titles.
Wiggins, who grew up in Kilburn, north London, first became widely known through his achievements on the track, winning a first Olympic medal in 2000, a first world title in 2003, before a first Olympic gold medal in 2004 in the individual pursuit.
He split his time between road and track from 2005 onwards, winning three more gold medals and five more world titles before the end of 2008, when he switched his focus to the road full-time.
With Garmin-Sharp he achieved the highest placing ever for a British rider in the Tour de France of fourth place in 2009 (later upgraded to third after the disqualification of Lance Armstrong), before he became the leading rider at new British super-squad Team Sky.
Aiming to win the Tour de France, Wiggins used his time trial prowess to win a plethora of big races, including Paris-Nice, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Romandie to name a few, as well as finishing third overall n the Vuelta a España in 2011.
The next year was his biggest year however, winning the Tour de France overall and an Olympic gold medal in the individual time trial shortly after, thrusting him into the limelight of the British public like never before.
A world time trial title followed in 2014 before he took the Hour Record in 2015, with a renewed focus on the track in aim to take a fifth gold and seventh Olympic medal at the Games in Rio in the team pursuit.
After achieving that, he finished his career with a swansong at the Ghent Six Day, the city of his birth, winning it for the second time in his career alongside Mark Cavendish.
The latter part of 2016 has seen Wiggins caught in a storm over his use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) during his time at Team Sky, which he used to treat asthma and allergies.
Those TUEs came to light after the Fancy Bears hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and despite no indication of wrongdoing, the issue has been discusses in front of a parliamentary select committee and seen Wiggins defend himself in an interview on national television.
He has already indicated that he’s likely to focus more on coaching and working with his eponymous team Wiggins, saying “the team is about inspiring young guys. We’ve got some great young riders and I just want to help those guys and develop the next champions.”
Wiggins had been included on the list of riders for British Cycling’s podium programme for 2017, which hinted that he might have been tempted to continue for one more year before he confirmed his retirement on Wednesday.