Sir Bradley Wiggins has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in a formal ceremony that honours his services to cycling. The Team Sky rider became a national hero in Britain in 2012 after becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France and then a gold medal in time trial event at the London 2012 Olympics.
Wiggins was honoured by the Queen with the traditional touch of a sword on his shoulders. Also honoured during the same ceremony were artist Anish Kapoor, musician Polly Harvey and two soldiers who had served in Afghanistan.
"It's quite something really. I never imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour, but there's a slight element of disbelief, and it will take a while to sink in,” Wiggins said humbly according to reports in the British media.
"There was never any doubt whether I'd accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a Sir, and I probably never will. I don't like profiting from status so it's more for my family. It's nice for my parents and grandparents to be able to say I'm a knight, and for my kids in the future."
"It was quite nerve-wracking actually. I'm still shaking now, to be honest. I mean, it's quite humbling being here. I was just talking to some of the other people getting stuff, and asking them what they've been honoured for, and they're historic things, ground-breaking sciences or whatever. I've won a bike race, you know, and I feel a little bit inferior to everyone, really."
Wiggins is known for partying after a major success but ruled out anything special after his visit to Buckingham Palace because he is already training for the 2014 season.
"It's just the end of the road in a sense, in that it tops off the closure of last summer as it were, even though it's more than a year ago," he said.
"I’m looking forward now, trying to concentrate on the next Olympic cycle now, but it’s an incredible honour, it really is.”
"I’ll probably be training this evening. It’s just ongoing at the moment. We (my family and I) are going to spend the afternoon together, but I’m staying here now to train until Christmas."
Back at the Tour de France
Wiggins has yet to confirm his objectives for the 2014 but has conceded that he will probably never again target overall victory in the Tour de France, setting his sights on a possible fifth Olympic medal in Brazil in 2016. However he hinted he does want to ride the 2014 Tour de France, which starts in Britain.
"That’s the plan, I’m deep in training at the moment and training hard, trying to stay injury free again, which wrecked this summer. I’d love to be back at the Tour de France in some capacity. Just to get back to the physical heights of 2012 and long term, focusing on gold medal number five in Rio,” he told Sky news.
However he ruled challenging teammate Chris Froome for a leadership role in the Tour.
"At the moment Chris is the current winner of the Tour de France and I think he has the right to defend that title next year. If I can play a support role I’d love to be back in the team and on the start line," he said.