Bradley Wiggins may have just become a sporting megastar but he’ll always remain one of us.
On sealing the deal of his Tour de France win, he received congratulations from the prime minister and a whole array of celebrities.
>> Save up to 31% with a magazine subscription. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Nonetheless, talking to a small press gathering in an unglamorous industrial estate hotel on the edge of Chartres this morning, Wiggins asserted: “I love cycling. I’ll always be riding my bike.
“I come from a cycling family. I’ll probably be there in 20 years time marshalling on the corner somewhere for a local ’10’.
“I’ll still be in a cycling club,” he added. “It’s pretty embedded [in me].”
Despite his ever-rising profile thanks to World Championship track titles, Olympics golds and now the Tour de France, Wiggins has always been keen to keep himself grounded.
Even when he was invited to speak on the podium of the Champs Élysées today, he cracked a joke that he had only taken the mic to “draw the raffle numbers”.
Wiggins revealed that he’d received messages of congratulations from the likes of Paul Weller and a number of other musicians.
Yesterday he even expressed bemusement at receiving a direct message from notorious footballing troublemaker Joey Barton. “He seemed to like the swearing,” noted Wiggins.
Asked this morning about what winning the Tour meant to him, he said:
“The thing that’s struck me most in the last 12 hours or so is just what it means to other people around me – my personal photographer breaking down in tears in my room!
“My mechanic was in tears, and things like that, and you just think f**king hell, it’s not just me who’s gone through this, everyone else around me has lived it too.”
Wiggins explained that he had come to see the Tour finish on the Champs Elysees in 1993.
“Eurostar had just opened and we had a family weekend. I remember Indurain and Bugno in the world champ’s jersey coming up there. I never imagined that 19 years later I’d be coming down there in the same position.
“It sounds clichéd and pathetic… but it’s the childhood stuff of dreams really, and it’s what I’ve dreamed of for 20 years, and never dreamed it could become reality.”
Dream fulfilled, Wiggins was due to return to the UK by private jet this evening as his focus switches entirely to chasing gold in the Olympic time trial next week.
“It’s got to be gold now,” he noted. “I can’t sit and say I’ll be happy with a silver, or happy with a bronze.”
However, just like the cyclist in all of us, he was also simply looking forward to his next bike ride.
“I’ll just go on my usual loops,” he said. “It will be nice to ride along with a bit of peace and quiet, enjoying riding the bike, without all these bloody idiots on motorbikes taking photos of you!”
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 20: Wiggins wins 2012 Tour as Cavendish takes final stage
Stage 19: Wiggins wins time trial to claim Tour de France
Stage 18: Cavendish wins Tour stage 18 with irresistible sprint
Stage 17: Wiggins step closer to Paris as Valverde wins stage
Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon
Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton
Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour
Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage
Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last
Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
Tour de France 2012: Related links