2012 was Bradley Wiggins' year, as he won both the Tour de France and the Olympic time trial gold medal. “We had a goal and we worked for three years to try and achieve it, and we did achieve it. Sport is what we live for.” The 2013 season has turned out completely differently, though, and the Team Sky rider won't even be riding the Tour this year.
The time trial at the Tour “was my greatest moment,” he told Eurosport. In fact, he added, “I think I've had two hours define my whole sports career and that was one of them. The other one was the London Olympics the week after, so those two one-our time trials were probably the highlight of my sporting career.”
Those victories last season gave him “an overwhelming sense of pride that no one can ever take away from me. That's something I'm going to have for the rest of my life now,” he told Eurosport.
The Tour is like no other race in the world, especially when you are going for the win. It is not easy to cope with the pressure which comes from the media, the public, the competition, the team and even from within oneself. Wiggins' coping strategy was “to keep hold of what was real. You get so consumed by the Tour that you forget what is reality."
“At the end of the day, it's just a bike race like every other bike race you go to through the year but somehow you arrive at the Tour de France and everything's changed. You're made to feel sometimes like it's life or death and it's not.”
Looking back at how he started in cycling as a youngster, he said much of his time “was on the turbo trainer as I grew up in central London, so my mum wouldn't let me go out on the road .I used to just sit and watch videos of the Tour de France.
“From the moment I watched cycling on the telly and the Tour de France, I was captivated by it and from that moment on I fell in love with the sport of cycling. From the age of 12 I wanted to be a professional cyclist,” he said. “At the time it was complete innocence and I had a dream. I just assumed I was going to fulfil that dream.”
That dream was to win the Tour de France, and to do that, he thought, he didn't really need to bother with school, a decision he now disagrees with, calling it “totally ridiculous now looking back and not something I would advise my own children to do,but at the time that's what I wanted to do."