“2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards. Kids from Kilburn don’t win Olympic golds and the Tour de France! They do now.” That was Sir Bradley Wiggins’ commentary on his cycling retirement, which he announced on 28th December 2016, although he didn’t confirm that he rode his last professional race. Britain’s first 2012 Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic champion said he had fulfilled a “childhood aspiration” of making a career out of a beloved sport. Below you’ll find some of the most memorable snapshots from his life both on and off saddle.
Bradley Wiggins, aged two, rides his first bike in north-west London in 1982.
June 1998 – Wiggins wins his first junior title in individual pursuit in Cuba.
The British Olympic team, consisting of Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Bradley Wiggins and Bryan Steel, hold flags and flowers after beating France in the men’s team pursuit to take bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. This event marks Wiggins’ first Olympic medal.
2003 brought him his first championship title and golden medal in individual pursuit, the first one out of seven track golds in his career.
Bradley Wiggins and Bradley McGee hold each other after Wiggins beat the Australian to win the men’s individual track title at the 2004 Athens Olympics and claimed his first gold medal. There was more than one reason to celebrate though, as Wiggins had earlier won his first Olympic bronze in the individual pursuit along with a silver in the team pursuit and became the first Briton to win three Olympic medals at same games since 1964.
The British team of Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas won gold and set a new world record at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Wiggins was exceptionally successful as he won two golds in Beijing.
Wiggins wears pink after joining Team Sky and taking the overall lead on stage one in his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, in 2010. Wiggins become one of just three British riders to wear the leader’s jersey at all three Grand Tours.
2012 went down as Wiggins’ “golden year”. His greatest successes happened during its course, including the victory in the prestigious week long 2012 Paris-Nice race, and winning the Tour de Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of the Tour de France.
Wiggins celebrates the first British 2012 Tour de France victory on the podium in Paris. Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and, on top of that, he got the Olympic medal just a week later.
Wiggins celebrates by sitting on a throne at Hampton Court after winning gold in the individual time-trial at the 2012 London Olympics. This victory saw him gaining unparalleled levels of fame in cycling.
5 June 2014 – Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Wiggins, accompanied by his wife Catherine, during a garden party at the British embassy in Paris. Wiggins was knighted in 2012 for his services to British cycling. “It was quite nerve-racking actually,” he said after his investiture. “I’m still shaking now, to be honest.”
Wiggins celebrates his victory in the World Championship elite men’s individual time trial in Ponferrada, Spain in 2014, his first rainbow bands won on the road.
After a refocus on the track ready for the 2016 Olympics, Wiggins beat fellow Brit Alex Dowsett’s Hour Record, riding 54.526km at the Olympic velodrome in London.
Satisfied Wiggins with his gold medal after winning the men’s team pursuit final at the 2016 Rio Olympics. This became his fifth Olympic gold.
2016 was a quite rollercoaster year for Wiggins. On 14 September 2016, a group of hackers calling themselves the “Fancy Bears” leaked Wiggins’ personal medical history, raising legitimate questions about his use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE), which allow athletes with certain medical conditions to use substances that are banned by Wada. There are still no suggestions that either he, British Cycling or Team Sky, his former team, have broken any rules, but the controversy remains and many still give him the stink eye for it.
Long-time friends Wiggins and Britain’s Mark Cavendish pose with their trophies after winning the six-day race at ‘t Kuipke velodrome in Ghent. Wiggins deliberately chose to end his competitive career at the famous Six Day race staged annually and it has supposedly nothing to do with his TUE affair. “I always think of my dad when I’m in here,” he commented. “He was a terrible father but I still idolise him as a bike rider because I wouldn’t be here without him.”
As was stated above, he might appear elsewhere in the vast world of cycling, but his retirement is well-deserved and his career brought us many moments of suspense and excitement.