• Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky in action during the 113th Paris Roubaix. (L'EQUIPE POOL)Source: L'EQUIPE POOL
Before returning to the track to fulfil another Olympic ambition, Bradley Wiggins wanted one more rocky ride on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, the race that inspired him to ride a bike in the first place.
By
Reuters

13 Apr 2015 - 1:23 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:39 PM

The Briton, who now turns his attention to the Hour record and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, finished a creditable18th on after having his moment in the limelight, attacking in the closing stages of the Queen of the Classics.

"When I attacked it was like being 16 again in London, training on this mews next to my house, thinking that was it, that was nice," Wiggins told reporters in front of his Team Sky bus after a discussion with his mentor Dave Brailsford.

"I just kissed Dave on the forehead, told him we've gone through a lot together. He's known me since I was an 18-year-old streak of piss, now I'm a 35 year-old streak of piss."

Wiggins, who will take part in the low-key Tour of Yorkshire in May with the development team he launched, Team Wiggins, had just closed the final chapter of a career on the road that took him to victory in the 2012 Tour de France and earned him a gold medal in the road cycling time trial at the London Olympics.

Frenchman Yvon Madiot, a sports director at La Francaise des Jeux - now FDJ - team, discovered the rough diamond in 2001.

"I saw this lanky lad for the first time at the Circuit des Mines in 2001 and I immediately saw that he had huge strength. He was made to pedal, and fast," Madiot told Reuters.

PASSION

A few months later, he had the Belgium-born Wiggins sign a pre-agreement for 2002 at the track cycling world championships in Anvers, Belgium.

"He was riding with a cast on his arm and yet (in the team pursuit) he was pulling for one lap while his team mates were pulling half a lap," said Madiot.

The son of an Australian six-day racer who left when he was two and would "drink himself into a stupor", Wiggins himself had to fight a drinking habit when he came to France to start his professional career.

"The only thing to do was buy a six pack. I was always drunk between races," said Wiggins.

Back then, the road was just a means to a greater end: track cycling and the Olympic glory attached to it.

Six of his seven Olympic medals, a British record, came on the track, the exception at the London Games in 2012, just after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

To achieve that feat, Wiggins lost a considerable amount of weight and made huge sacrifices.

"From his years on the track, he kept his sang-froid, the mastery of events. When he decides something, nothing can deter him from his goal," Francis van Londersele, who managed Wiggins at Cofidis from 2006-07, said back in 2012.

After that golden summer, Wiggins took it easier.

"I've had a good run at the whole thing. The last couple of years were like a hobby, a passion," he said on Sunday.

He will now get back to the thick of it as he will prepare for the Hour record, which he is highly likely to smash in June.