Wiggins bids adieu to professional cycling

Bradley Wiggins said his goodbyes to professional cycling in a post today on the Facebook page of his Continental squad, Team WIGGINS. The 36-year-old winner of the 2012 Tour de France leaves the sport as Great Britain's most highly decorated Olympian, having won five gold medals on the track and road. Wiggins is also an eight-time world champion across both disciplines.

"I have been lucky enough to live a dream and fulfil my childhood aspiration of making a living and a career out of the sport I fell in love with at the age of 12. I've met my idols and ridden with and alongside the best for 20 years. I have worked with the world’s best coaches and managers who I will always be grateful to for their support," Wiggins wrote.

"What will stick with me forever is the support and love from the public though thick and thin, all as a result of riding a pushbike for a living. 2012 blew my mind and was a gas. Cycling has given me everything and I couldn't have done it without the support of my wonderful wife Cath and our amazing kids.

"2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards, 'feet on the ground, head in the clouds' kids from Kilburn don't win Olympic Golds and Tour de Frances'! They do now." #WIGGINS

Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012, the same year he won the Olympic time trial gold in London. He won the time trial world championship in 2014. Wiggins also currently holds the UCI Hour Record of 54.526km. In his road career, Wiggins won the overall in Criterium du Dauphine, Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Tour of Britain and Tour of California. He also wore the leader's jersey in each of the three Grand Tours.

After winning the Gent Six Day with Mark Cavendish, Wiggins hinted that he might continue racing on the track in 2017, and was included on British Cycling's Team Olympic Podium Programme.

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Wiggins has been embroiled in controversy since the 2016 Olympics when computer hackers Fancy Bears released Therapeutic Use Exemptions for numerous athletes, including Wiggins and Team Sky teammate Chris Froome. The UK Anti-Doping Agency has also been investigating a package British Cycling delivered, presumably for Wiggins, from the UK to Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman in France by a British Cycling employee on the final day of the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.

British Cycling President Bob Howden paid tribute to Wiggins on Wednesday, saying in a statement released by the British governing body that Wiggins' achievements in cycling had a direct impact on life in Great Britain.

"Eight Olympic medals and a first British win in the Tour de France are just part of the captivating story of a cycling legend, as few sportspeople have had the impact on life in this country as Sir Bradley Wiggins," Howden said. "He retires as one of British sport's great champions, not just for the medals and the sheer diversity of races he won but also for the way in which he used his achievements to inspire so many people to become active by getting on their bikes. British Cycling has much to thank him for and we wish him success with his future plans."

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