Tour de France and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has claimed that he was groomed by a cycling coach when he was a teenager, in an interview with Men’s Health UK where he also discussed his mental health struggles as an adult.
"I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that," Wiggins explained in the interview.
In excerpts shared from the interview, he confirmed the grooming was sexual in nature, but did not share further information on the alleged coach, or specific context. He revealed that it had a substantial impact on his adult life.
"It all impacted me as an adult… I buried it," he said. He added that his relationship with his stepfather was troubled, and often violent, meaning he was unable to confide in him.
"My stepfather was quite violent to me, he used to call me a f****t for wearing Lycra and stuff, so I didn’t think I could tell him."
Wiggins also discussed his relationship with his biological father, Australian cyclist Gary Wiggins, who was murdered in 2008.
"He left us when I was little, so I met him for the first time when I was 18," he said. "We rekindled some kind of relationship but then we didn't speak for the last couple of years before he was murdered… He was my hero.
"I wanted to prove myself to him. He was a good cyclist – he could have been really good – but he was a wasted talent. He was an alcoholic, a manic depressive, quite violent and he took a lot of amphetamines and [sports] drugs back then."
Wiggins went into more detail on his mental health, describing his depression. "I have to have routine," he said. "Training every day, it's important. Not drinking too much... With my depression, if I'm not looking after myself it manifests more like a mania."
He also revealed that after his Tour de France win in 2012 he struggled with the attention and fame. "Life was never the same again. I was thrust into this fame and adulation that came with the success," Wiggins said.
"I'm an introverted, private person. I didn't know who 'me' was, so I adopted a kind of veil – a sort of rock star veil. It wasn’t really me… It was probably the unhappiest period of my life."
Bradley Wiggins was speaking to Men’s Health 'Talking Heads' columnist, Alastair Campbell, in the May issue of the magazine, on sale from April 20.
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Peter Stuart has been editor of Cyclingnews since March 2022, overseeing editorial output across all of Cyclingnews' digital touchpoints.
Before joining Cyclingnews, Peter was the digital editor of Rouleur magazine. Starting life as a freelance feature writer, with bylines in The Times and The Telegraph, he first entered cycling journalism in 2012, joining Cyclist magazine as staff writer. Peter has a background as an international rower, representing Great Britain at Under-23 level and at the Junior Rowing World Championships.
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