Bradley Wiggins: ‘I dedicated my life to cycling’ to escape ‘abuse’

Bradley Wiggins: ‘I dedicated my life to cycling’ to escape ‘abuse’

Bradley Wiggins now retired from cycling. Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images / Cordon Press

FOUR-TIME Olympic gold medallist, Bradley Wiggins, 42, has recently admitted how he dedicated his life to cycling as a distraction after suffering abuse from a coach from the age of 12, as reported by Cycling News on Tuesday March 28.

Wiggins retired from racing in 2016, but has recently worked as a cycling pundit for Global Cycling Network (GCN) commenting on major races.

The first-ever British winner of the Tour de France appears to have a love-hate relationship with the sport, accepting that while cycling has given him everything, he also hints that he no longer has any interest in the sport, with disdain for the way he was pushed to success.

In 2022 in an interview for Men’s Health, he told how he was groomed by a coach in his early years.

In January 2023, he launched an NSPCC campaign, Listen UP, Speak Up, to help people spot the signs of child abuse and to blow the whistle when they see it.

Wiggins is also promoting a ‘Ride London’ event in May 2023 for the Mind charity and admitted he is ready to undergo personal therapy.

During his charity work with Fearne Cotton for the Happy Place podcast, he had to revisit those traumatic teenage years.

Commenting on the problems he faced as a child he said, “The hardest part was the campaign stuff, doing interviews about it. I was having to relive some of the minor incidents that happened to me with this coach to add weight to the campaign.

“This happened over a three-year period. I can’t remember how many times it happened. We’re talking about incidents from very minor to borderline rape, sexual abuse, whatever term you want to use. . .my greatest shame was that another man had done that to me. I couldn’t get my head around the abnormality of that, particularly at 13. That is a trauma. From that moment, I pretended it didn’t happen, and I dedicated my life to cycling as a distraction.”

I’d be nothing without cycling in my life, it’s given me everything. At the same time it almost took everything away from me.

Wiggins concluded on a happier note, “I think cycling is a real passageway to mental and physical freedom. There’s a famous saying, ‘Outside is free’. Everyone has access to a bicycle and it has the ability to change people’s lives by getting on a bike.”

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals. When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.