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“The fondest memories are going back from the Tour de France in 2012 as the winner, and going into a holding camp in London for a home Olympic Games and seeing the response to what we’d just done for the last three weeks."

Photo: A.S.O.




13.04.2015 @ 12:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Before lining up for his final race with Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins did a lengthy interview with about his love of Paris-Roubaix and his fondest memories during his time with the team.


A student of the sport, Wiggins grew up with posters of cycling’s greats adorning his bedroom wall. On Sunday, when he draws a line under his WorldTour road career in the Roubaix Velodrome, Wiggins hopes to once again emulate those greats with a final crack at the hardest one-day race in cycling.


Of his 28 professional victories on the road, 23 of them have come since joining Team Sky in 2010. With a Tour de France victory and world and Olympic time trial titles providing the headline achievements, the 34 year old’s palmares is as glittering as they come.


And in terms of closing one of the most successful chapters in British cycling history, Wiggins believes the Roubaix velodrome was the perfect setting.


“It just wouldn't be the same anywhere else,” he admitted. “I think Roubaix is a fitting end, and so many riders - Museeuw, Ballerini, Van Petegem - they've all ended it there. You come into the velodrome and you get to do a lap of honour wherever you finish. It's probably the only race other than the Tour de France where riders plug on to get to the finish. Even if I've been dropped or crashed, I'll ride on with a broken collarbone just to come into the velodrome as it's my last race. No other race would be like that.”



Wiggins has always carried a passion for ‘the Hell of the North’, but that passion intensified as he began to target a big result on the pavé.


“It's always the fairytale isn't it? You finish Paris-Roubaix, and because you had a good ride, you forget how hard it was. I remember how much I enjoyed it last year – this period and being here with these guys – and being part of something. That's why I decided to come back.


“For so many years I'd watched it on TV with the likes of Museeuw coming onto there. To be in that group was really nice. It's something that doesn't mean a lot to people outside of cycling, but when you're in love with cycling as I was as a kid, it's a huge thing.


“Without the passion and love for the sport I had when I was young, I wouldn't be here today,” he added. “I loved it as much as the 13 year old in the flat across from me who was mad about Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur and idolised the footballers of that time. For me it was Johan Museeuw, Franco Ballerini and Miguel Indurain.”



There is no doubt the name Bradley Wiggins can be added to that list of cycling greats, with his time and success at Team Sky helping to create a huge wave of momentum for British cycling.


On his time with the team, Wiggins confirmed: “I would not have had any of the success I’ve had if I'd not been on this team. People talk about legacy. In a performance-sense we’ve officially changed cycling in some ways.


"Who was the first person to start doing warm-downs on a turbo? It was me after the 2011 Tour de France. We were the first team to wear skinsuits in road races and everyone berated us for it at the Giro in 2010. Now everyone is doing it. Everyone’s also wearing filled-in helmets now and we were the first team to do that. All these little things that everyone is using. It’s nice to have been part of that.”


With so much success over the years, what has been Wiggins' fondest memory during his time with the team?


“The fondest memories are going back from the Tour de France in 2012 as the winner, and going into a holding camp in London for a home Olympic Games and seeing the response to what we’d just done for the last three weeks. We went to a café somewhere in Surrey to have a coffee and realised that things had changed. Then post-time trial in London I realised the effect it'd had. When the Daily Mirror printed pictures of my sideburns on the front cover to cut out – for a sport like cycling to have got to those height was really something.


“So the fondest moment was realising that cycling had changed in people’s eyes. And that came from a succession of stuff, not just my winning the Tour de France, but Cav being world champion. What we did as a team in Copenhagen as a British team, riding on the front for 200km to put him in that position. On the Champs-Elysees the first British Tour winner leading out a world champion to win the stage. That was pretty special. Riding around on the front at the London Olympics. Even though Cav didn’t win it was still an incredible experience. Then to go out for 50 minutes around the streets of London, having won the Tour de France, and then to win the time trial. I said at the time it was never going to get any bigger than that.”



With Wiggins heading off post-Roubaix to join the WIGGINS continental team which bears his name, the move will also bring to a close a partnership with Team Sky Team Principal Dave Brailsford.


“I’ll miss that relationship with Dave Brailsford and all those guys. I have been with Dave now since I was 18, before the Sydney Olympics.


“All my success has been with him and the coaching staff there, so in some ways parting ways a little bit as I focus on the track, and obviously Dave has left British Cycling now and is no longer there, it’s going to be a new chapter as we go towards the Olympics in Rio.”



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