Why Wiggins is a sporting hero

Kate Bates

Character ... Bradley Wiggins has plenty of friends and enemies as he fights for the yellow jersey (Getty Images)
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I’ve watched Bradley Wiggins race from a close perspective for more than a decade. Even before I’d seen him in real-life action, Shane Sutton had called his brother Gary, and my coach, to brag about a rare talent he was developing.

Before we tar and feather Wiggo, let’s remember that he is a family man too. While he no doubt has a warm and fuzzy side, he has no obligation to show that to us.

From the get-go, Wiggins was known as an uber prospect. More than this, he was said to have a rare commitment and determination, one of such focus that those around him knew they were watching someone special.

His dominant performances of late for his team Sky, particularly in the time trials, can hardly be surprising. This is a guy who has been world and Olympic champion many times over. His resume already outshines most, and he has only just started his road career in earnest.

From an insider’s perspective, talent isn’t as rare as you think. Nor is commitment to the cause.

What is rare is the combination of the two. If you need convincing, how about the fact that after a 200km road stage, Wiggins was spotted on the wind trainer before he boarded the bus to the hotel? He possesses meticulous attention to detail.

On top of this, he has a team full of devotees. His inner circle contains some of the world’s best riders, managers and coaches, people who don’t suffer fools lightly.

You can probably tell by now that I hold him in fairly high regard. As an athlete, he is a once in a generation kind. Any young rider could learn a lot from studying his methods, and his tenacious attitude.

This single-minded focus comes at a cost, and when journalists ask him the hard questions, his natural reaction is a vitriolic spray. Wiggins is more passionate about cycling, and his mission within it than most people can understand.

I agree with Tomo that he doesn’t need to swear, but at least he is showing us some personality.

If it was a studio interview, I doubt he would react in the same way. His loose language often comes off the back of a long day and a yellow jersey presentation, yet his comments are regurgitated in media as though he has been interviewed in a sterile environment.

Before we tar and feather Wiggo, let’s remember that he is a family man too. While he no doubt has a warm and fuzzy side, he has no obligation to show that to us.

He is an athlete, and should be judged as such. If his passion flows into salacious responses to unwelcomed questions, so be it.

Wiggo is allowed his opinion, and he is allowed to show us some spark, perhaps we just need to get him a thesaurus.

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