Monday, April 20, 2015

Sir Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins rode with Team Sky for the last time at the recent Paris-Roubaix road race, so I thought this would be a good time to write about him. Wiggins was born in Belgium, where his father was a professional cyclist. His mother was British, and after his parents split, Bradley moved with his mother to London.

Wiggins' interest in cycling began when he watched the British cyclist Chris Boardman (The same one that is the Research & Development Director at Boardman Bikes, which Circle City Bicycles sells) win the gold medal for individual pursuit at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. He first competed in a cycling race at the age of 12, and joined the Archer Road Club, as his father had done years earlier.

Bradley's early racing career focused on track cycling, although he has always competed in both road and track cycling. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens Wiggins won gold in the individual pursuit, just as Boardman had done twelve years earlier. He also won a silver in the team pursuit and a bronze in the Madison. Four years later in Beijing, Bradly successfully defended his gold in the individual pursuit. He also took home a gold medal in the team pursuit for good measure. At the 2012 London Olympics Wiggins won a gold in the time trial, raising hos total medal count to seven.

In 2003 Wiggins competed in the Giro d'Italia, his first of the grand tours. In 2005 he began to focus more on road racing. Bradley road in his first Tour de France in 2006, finishing 124th. In the 2007 Tour de France Wiggins' team withdrew after one of its riders failed a drug test. After focusing on the Olympics in 2008, Wiggins returned to the tour in 2009, and finished fourth, which established him as a real contender for the title.

Wiggins began riding for Team Sky, the new British cycling team in 2010 as team leader. It was a difficult year for him, as he finished 40th in the Giro, and 24th in the Tour de France. In 2011 he bypassed the Giro to concentrate on the Tour de France. Unfortunately, Bradley was involved in a crash during stage 7, and broke his collarbone, ending his tour. In 2012 everything came together for Wiggins and Team Sky. He put in a dominating performance to win the Tour de France, and his teammate Chris Froome came in second. Bradley also won three smaller races, along with taking gold at the Olympics in 2012. To top it all off, he was knighted by the Queen. The following year, physical ailments forced him to withdraw from the Giro and not participate in the Tour de France, which was won by Chris Froome. In 2014, he was not selected by Team Sky to ride in the Tour de France, which went with Chris Froome as team leader.

Wiggins rode his last race as a member of Team Sky on April 12, finishing 18th in the Paris-Roubaix race. He will now compete for his newly formed Team Wiggins squad, and will focus on preparing for track cycling at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  On June 7, he will make an attempt to break the one hour record, which currently stands at 52.491 kilometers (About 32.5 miles).

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