“It is quite rare in cycling,” Wiggins said at a team training camp in Mallorca. “There aren’t many Tour winners with no [doping] history. You can count them on one hand.”
Over the last decade many former Tour de France victors have been found to have taken banned substances in pursuit of the yellow jersey. Most notably, Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles after an extensive investigation into the doping practices employed by the US Postal team.
Alberto Contador had his 2010 win struck off his palmarès, after he tested positive for clenbuterol on the second rest day of the race. While the only rider to step on the podium in 2005 not to have been belatedly disqualified is Ivan Basso, who was later banned for his part in Operación Puerto.
The 2012 winner says that this status gives him an element of duty. “It’s a very small club, and it gives you a responsibility, in a way, to preach that to the world,” said the Brit. “As a Tour winner with credibility, with no history, no skeletons in the closet, people are inspired by that.”
Wiggins missed last year’s race, but is looking to regain his position in the Sky team for July. Defending champion Chris Froome will lead the nine-man squad, but Wiggins has said that he is happy to support his team-mate. His first big targets of the year, however, are Paris-Roubaix and a tilt at the Tour of California title.
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