Former Tour de France champ Wiggins retires from cycling

Bradley Wiggins announced his retirement from cycling on Wednesday, ending an illustrious career in which he won a British-record eight Olympic medals and became his country's first winner of the Tour de France.

The 36-year-old Wiggins posted a statement on his Facebook and Instagram pages, alongside a picture of his collected race jerseys, medals and trophies.

"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 wrote.

"2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards."

Wiggins is Britain's most decorated Olympian with five golds in a haul of eight medals across five games, capped this year when he led the British pursuit team to victory at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

The summer of 2012 was the pinnacle of Wiggins' career, when he completed a rare double by winning the time trial at the London Olympics soon after his Tour triumph amid a joyful atmosphere described as "Wiggomania" by the British press. A lanky athlete with a strong appetite for fine clothing and British rock music, Wiggins was subsequently honored with a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.

In recent months, he has found himself under scrutiny for his use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) earlier in his career, after hackers leaked that he got intramuscular injections of a strong corticosteroid days before three big races, including the 2012 Tour.

Wiggins' treatment was approved by cycling authorities and there has been no suggestion any rules have been broken over the TUEs. But the revelations cast a shadow over one of the strongest advocates of the anti-doping fight.

Both Wiggins and Team Sky, his former team, have denied any wrongdoing over the rider's approved use of the treatment.

Wiggins' father, Gary, was making a living in Belgium as a professional cyclist when Bradley was born in the country. A hard-drinking Australian, Gary left his English wife and son when Bradley was two years old, with Bradley moving to London where he lived on a working-class estate. Wiggins took to cycling at 12 and collected his first Olympic medal eight years later at the Sydney Games, winning bronze in the team pursuit. He added three more in Athens in 2004, with gold, silver and bronze in three different events, becoming the first British athlete in 40 years to win three medals at a single Olympics.

Wiggins had more success at the 2008 Beijing Games, winning gold in the team and individual pursuits.

After shedding some weight, Wiggins realized during the 2009 Tour that he was capable of competing for the overall win, achieving his best-ever finish with a fourth place. He crashed out of the Tour with a fractured collarbone in 2011 and fulfilled his dream of winning cycling's most grueling race a year later.

Like his father, who died in 2008 after struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, Wiggins had to overcome drinking problems after his early successes in the velodrome. He wrote in his autobiography that he suffered from depression after the Athens Olympics and indulged in binge drinking as he struggled to cope with his celebrity status.

"Apparently it's a well-known phenomenon, but Olympic gold medalists usually only lose the plot for a month or so," Wiggins wrote. "My bender (drinking) after winning three medals, including my first gold, in Athens in August 2004 lasted a good eight or nine months and I wasn't quite right for at least a year... For a while my life threatened to spiral out of control."

Wiggins pulled himself together after the birth of his son, Ben, in March 2005, and had a daughter a year later with his wife, Catherine.

"What will stick with me forever," Wiggins wrote in his retirement statement, "is the support and love from the public through thick and thin, all as a result of riding a pushbike for a living."


Sir Bradley Wiggins Retires From Pro Cycling

© The Associated Press FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 file photo, former Tour de France winner and Olympic Gold medalist Britain's Bradley Wiggins greets spectators prior to competing in the six day race at the Kuipke velodrome
Bradley Wiggins announced his retirement from professional cycling on Wednesday, bringing the curtain down on a career that saw him become one of Britain's greatest sportsmen.

The 36-year-old became Britain's first Tour de France winner in 2012 and bows out with eight Olympic medals, including five golds, and seven world titles, across track and road cycling, to his name.

"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 in a statement on the Facebook page of his Wiggins team.

"I've met my idols and ridden with and alongside the best for 20 years. I have worked with the world's best coaches and managers, who I will always be grateful to for their support."

Wiggins, nicknamed 'Wiggo', is Britain's most decorated Olympian and the only cyclist to have won world and Olympic gold medals on both track and road.

His other achievements include the world track hour record, set in June 2015, and wearing the leader's jersey in each of the three Grand Tours. He also jointly holds the world record in the team pursuit.

His finest hour came in 2012, when he followed up Tour de France success by winning time-trial gold at the 2012 Olympics in his home city of London.

"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," Wiggins added. "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'! They do now."

Wiggins's statement was accompanied by a photograph of his medals and former team jerseys.

Born in Ghent, Belgium to an Australian cyclist father, Gary, and a British mother, Linda, Wiggins was raised in Kilburn, northwest London and would become an icon of British sport.

His 'mod' sideburns and irreverent public pronouncements made him a beloved figure and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II—making him Sir Bradley—in 2013.

He bowed out at the Six Day of Ghent, city of his birth, last month, having taken his tally of Olympic gold medals to five with victory in the team pursuit at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

But the final months of his career have been overshadowed by whispers about shady practices during his time with Team Sky, which coincided with the most successful period of his career.

It was revealed in September that he obtained therapeutic use exemptions for the banned substance triamcinolone shortly before the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

He has denied wrongdoing and there is no suggestion he has broken any rules, but UK Anti-Doping is investigating.


Bradley Wiggins: British cycling star announces retirement

(CNN)Bradley Wiggins, the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and a five-time Olympic champion, has announced his retirement.

The 36-year-old, whose use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for a longstanding asthma complaint has been scrutinized in recent months, made the announcement via his official Facebook page.

"I have been lucky enough to live a dream and fulfill my childhood aspiration of making living and a career out of the sport I fell in love with at the age of 12," Wiggins said in a statement Wednesday.

"I've met my idols and ridden with and alongside the best for 20 years. I have worked with the world's best coaches and managers who I will always be grateful to for their support."
Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France with Team Sky and competed at five Summer Olympics for Great Britain in both track and road races.

His first Olympic medal -- a bronze -- came in the team pursuit at the 2000 Sydney Games before claiming gold (individual pursuit), silver (team pursuit 4,000m) and bronze (madison) in Athens four years later.

Two more track golds (individual and team pursuit) followed in 2008 at Beijing, and at London 2012 he delighted home crowds by winning the individual time trial road event.

Returning to the track this year, Wiggins won a final gold in the team pursuit in Rio in August to take his tally of Olympic medals to eight, one more than fellow cyclists Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.

Following August's Rio Games, he has fought hard to defend his professional reputation following the leak of his medical records by the hacking group, Fancy Bears.

The release of what was supposedly the World Anti-Doping Agency's confidential data revealed that Wiggins was given three TUEs to use triamcinolone -- a substance used to treat allergies and asthma -- before the Tour de France in 2011 and 2012 as well as the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

The exemptions were granted by the UCI, world cycling's governing body, and there is no suggestion Wiggins broke any rules.

This month, his former Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford told British MPs that a "mystery package" delivered to Wiggins at an event before the 2011 Tour de France contained fluimucil -- an unrestricted decongestant drug.
"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," Wiggins added in his Facebook statement.

"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! They do now."

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