A dream 2012 was followed by a difficult 2013 for Britain’s cycling knight Sir Bradley Wiggins. In the February issue of Cycle Sport, Edward Pickering asks those close to the Sky rider, what will he do next?
Cycling is a sport with a long memory, but a short attention span. This time last year, Bradley Wiggins was the Tour champion, the Olympic gold medallist in his home city and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The Sun printed cut-out-and-keep sideburns as Wiggomania took hold.
And now? A comparatively lean 2013, with a palmarès that seems all the more threadbare when contrasted with the incredible string of victories he achieved in the previous season, has entirely changed things for the 2012 Tour champion.
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Gushing praise has been replaced by career obituaries, often written in 140-character chunks. The perception that his life has turned into a metaphorical car crash as debilitating as the literal one which sideswiped him from his bike in November last year was reinforced when the Daily Star recently ran a story about Wiggins having made a crude comment within range of a working microphone at a charity function, along with a picture in which the Tour winner was looking well refreshed.
It was manna from heaven for his critics, while his fans and supporters groaned and found fewer reasons to stick up for him. It’s fair to say that rightly or wrongly, the current feeling is that it’s all gone disastrously wrong.
But has it? The case for is pretty damning. He won the Tour and three other prestigious stage races in 2012, plus that Olympic gold. This year, he sulked his way through the early stage races, put in decent but unconvincing performances at the Tours of Catalonia and Trentino, then took a walloping in the Giro d’Italia.
The Tour didn’t even happen – a questionably timed knee injury saved face there, but Wiggins was supplanted by a dominant performance by his team-mate, and nemesis, Chris Froome.
Read the rest of this feature in the February issue of Cycle Sport……
The February issue of Cycle Sport magazine is available now in all good newsagents and supermarkets priced £4.75. Cycle Sport magazine is also available to download straight to your iPad or tablet device via iTunes, Google Play, it’s also on Kindle Fire and Nook.