Bradley Wiggins: “It would be hard to live my life as it is for ever.”
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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bradley Wiggins: “It would be hard to live my life as it is for ever.”

by Ben Atkins at 10:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Olympics
 
Britain’s first Tour de France winner struggles with the celebrity that his achievement has brought

bradley wigginsBradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is Britain’s first ever Tour de France winner and - after after winning the time trial at the London 2012 Games - is the country’s most successful Olympian, with a total of seven medals. The Gent-born Londoner is struggling with the celebrity that his success has brought however, as the outstanding performer in an unprecedented summer of British sport, as he tries to rejoin his life for the off season.

In an interview with the Guardian, Wiggins admits that it still hasn’t sunk in that he’s won the Tour.

“I don't think it will, to be honest,” he said. “I don't think it has to sink in. I accept that I won the Tour, but I don't know if I should feel any different. I understand what it means, because I love the history of the sport, but I don't think I'll ever…"

His Olympic achievements over the years, which began with a bronze medal in the Sydney 2000 Team Pursuit, have meant that Wiggins has carried a certain amount of fame for several years. His Tour victory, as well as winning the time trial at the games in his home town this summer, have elevated this however, which is something he is having trouble coming to terms with.

"Sometimes I feel… I wouldn't say I wish I hadn't won the Tour, but sometimes, especially with recent events, the Lance Armstrong stuff, I find it hard being the winner of the Tour and everything that goes with it,” he explained. “I wanted to be the winner for the challenge of what the sporting event is about and how hard you can train to do that, and I never wanted all the stuff that went with it.”

Being recognised in the street is something that Wiggins is having to deal with for the first time, which is having an impact with the time he is trying to spend with his wife and two young children.

"They ask your wife to take the photo, which is a bit rude,” he said. “And after a while that becomes tiresome, especially when you're having a pizza with your children, or you have to have a photo with somebody else's kids while yours stand to the side.

"It's quite humbling that sport can do this to a nation, but there comes a point when I've got to start getting on with my life,” he added. “It would be hard to live my life as it is for ever."

bradley wigginsWiggins spent much of his early career living in France - as he rode for French teams Française des Jeux, Crédit Agricole, and then Cofidis - before moving back to the UK to be close to British Cycling’s Manchester headquarters. Although he is being recognised everywhere he goes however, he rules out moving abroad, for now at least.

"There were a few times we considered it,” he admitted. “Where d'you go, though? I like living here. I wouldn't go to Monaco or anywhere like that. It's a shit hole. I couldn't think of a worse place to live."

Instead of the glitzy Mediterranean tax haven then, the Wiggins family continues to call a small village outside Wigan - the town whose football team he compared to his previous Garmin-Slipstream team back in late 2009 - in the north of England.

"It's a humble town,” he said. “Working-class people don't tend to be wooed by celebrity.

"I hate that word."

As a Tour winner Wiggins is constantly asked for his opinion on the Lance Armstrong case, and finds his achievements questioned as a result of it. For Wiggins though, keeping his feet on the ground is one of the most important things, and he has no intention of living his life like the disgraced former seven-time winner.

"If I'm going to Kilburn [the part of London where he grew up - ed], I get on a bus,” he said. “He'd have a car waiting for him with a bodyguard. He'd go to races on a private jet. I take my kids to school. It's what keeps you normal.

“I don't want my kids growing up as ****ing idiots, d'you know what I mean?”

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