Bradley Wiggins says he regrets his fallout with Chris Froome nearly a decade ago and describes the peace with his former teammate as “liberating.”
Wiggins and Froome were teammates of Team Sky, the latter helping the former to become Britain’s first Tour de France winner in 2012.
Their relationship was not smooth and major cracks were observed during the now infamous Stage 17 at Peyragudes when Froome left in the last 5 kilometers of the stage before being called back. Wiggins later said he considered quitting racing after the incident and would ultimately never return to racing as a professional racer.
Read also : VeloNews stories of the decade: Team Sky’s domination of the Tour de France
In an interview on the Podcast du Geraint Thomas Cycling Club, Wiggins blamed his own behavior as a major factor in breaking up his relationship with Froome. The 41-year-old said he was fortunate enough to catch up with Froome during this year’s Tour.
“I’ve never been back on the Tour, the whole quarrel with Chris Froome was really unfortunate. I had a lot of impact on that with the way I was behaving, ”said Wiggins. “I first met Froome at the Tour in a nightclub at the end. We kissed him. I talk to him a lot now. It is truly liberating.
“The bike is so energy intensive, and I was quite childish and petulant with the way I handled things. I think it stems from not knowing how to handle things. It impacted relationships around me and I left Sky on bad terms, which I regretted because I was sort of the creator of it.
The @gtcc_ is back
In the first episode of season two, me and @tomfordyce catch up on my summer. And there is a lot to do… 👀🙈
Take advantage and tell me who you want us to chat with this time around
– Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) October 19, 2021
Wiggins eventually left Team Sky in 2015 and retired the following year.
Speaking to Thomas, who still rides for the team, Wiggins said he was drawn to Team Sky in 2010 by money and what he saw as the only chance he had to win the tour of France. However, he often struggled in the environment.
Read also : Wiggins and Thomas go their separate ways in the mainstream spotlight
« David [Brailsford] came knocking on the door with a lot of money and I think the money attracted me more than anything, ”said Wiggins. “I thought if I was ever to win the Tour, I was probably going to have to go back to a system that I didn’t like the most, which was in this Dave setup. It was quite intense and very scathing.
“Towards the end of Sky, I was pretty lonely and a bit lonely. I stayed alone most of the time and didn’t like it. I was going through and checking things off… I never really enjoyed anything after 2012. ”
Wrestling with fame
After his retirement, Wiggins started rowing and competed in the British Indoor Rowing Championships in 2017. Although he initially planned to try to make the UK rowing team for the Tokyo Olympics , he finally gave up the sport a year later and started working as an expert instead.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a few years. It took me a while to find myself honest. I broke away from cycling and everything that goes with it, ”he said. “You have to be a real ruthless side as a cyclist. Sometimes you turn out to be a horrible person.
“Still being able to comment on the sport I love is such a privilege. Still earning a living by cycling is good.
Wiggins’ success in the Tour de France and at the Olympics – where he won time trial gold – made him a household name in the UK. It’s something he found very difficult to deal with and says he started playing an alter ego to help him cope.
Read also : Wiggins denounces UK government report accusing him of anti-doping rule violation
He attributes some of the challenges he faced in coping with his success to his “dysfunctional childhood.”
“I ended up playing a bit of a character, a role, probably because of the insecurity. I had that veil of playing a rockstar, and I think it was a good disguise to go through life like that. The fame and the adulation, I couldn’t handle it like I did, ”Wiggins said.
“It probably comes from my childhood. I have realized a lot about my childhood over the past few years. When I retired I thought a lot and a lot about the trauma I experienced as a child. I witnessed a murder when I was 15 and never really accepted it. My principal was stabbed when I was 15, Philip Lawrence, in front of St George’s School… My father was murdered in 2008.
“I think it affected me as an adult when I had my own kids. I’ve never been good at handling fame and public adulation, so I handled it in a way. I would be quite shocking, contentious and swearing. I was going to get drunk to play and play the fool. It didn’t serve me well because I built a character that stuck around for a long time. “
Wiggins’ father Gary, a former horseman, was found unconscious in New South Wales, Australia, and died of head injuries in hospital. The death was considered suspicious, but no one has ever been arrested for it.
Since retiring, Wiggins feels like he’s been able to get past the character he created and he’s in a happier place now.
“When I look back, I don’t like the person I was when I was riding a bike. There has always been a tendency to go the opposite of this since I stopped cycling. I never want to come back to that again, ”he said.
“I feel like I came out on the other side and I have no bitterness in watching people do well. A lot of people really have a hard time watching other people do well and they are constantly talking about themselves. Glad to watch other people do well, which is a nice place. “