Bradley Wiggins suggests Tour de France riders retire if they can’t handle risks

British former cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins comments the race on a moto during stage 17 of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race from Pont du Gard to Gap 200 km France Wednesday 24 July 2019 This years Tour de France starts in Brussels and takes place from July 6th to July 28th BELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS Photo credit should read YORICK JANSENSAFP via Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has suggested that riders unhappy about the dangerous conditions on display during stage 1 of the race in Nice should contemplate retirement and that there has been a growing lack of respect within the peloton for several years.

The second comment is one that is rolled out every few years by leading statesmen in the sport as they get older and closer to the end of their careers, but Wiggins said: “Riders are willing to take more risks in order to get that win, but it’s a tough sport and if you don’t like it, probably retire.”

Wiggins was speaking during his daily slot on Eurosport after a day that saw the peloton take control and neutralize a large portion of the stage. The stage was raced in heavy rain, which made the tight and technical roads around Nice incredibly slippery. Several riders compared the experience to like being on ice. Three riders - Rafael Valls, Philippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb - sustained race-ending injuries, while the entire stage was punctuated with rider crashes.

Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) had some choice words for the sport’s governing body on Saturday evening, telling Wielerflits, "Apparently it wasn't dangerous and spectacular enough for the UCI. In my opinion, the last crash is their responsibility.”

A sense of calm only came about after Gesink’s teammate, Tony Martin, moved to the front of the peloton and issued instructions for his colleagues to slow down. That warning was heeded by almost the entire peloton, bar Astana, who clipped off the front only to then see their team leader Miguel Angel Lopez slide into a lamppost. He was relatively unharmed but Pavel Sivakov and Julian Alaphilippe were among the fallers. Even after racing re-started there was a serious crash in the closing kilometres, with Thibaut Pinot one of the most high-profile victims. 

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.