Cycling legend Wiggins claims he was groomed by childhood coach
Sir Bradley Wiggins has claimed he was groomed by a former cycling coach as a child.
The 41-year-old, who became the first and so far only rider to win the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal in the same year in 2012, made the claims in an interview with Men's Health UK.
Wiggins, who won a total of eight Olympic medals (five gold, one silver, and two bronze) during a glittering career, said he had buried the abuse during his youth due to a strained relationship with his stepfather, but did not name the alleged offender.
"I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that... It all impacted me as an adult… I buried it," Wiggins said.
"My stepfather was quite violent to me, he used to call me a f***** for wearing Lycra and stuff, so I didn't think I could tell him. I was such a loner... I just wanted to get out of the environment. I became so insular. I was quite a strange teenager in many ways, and I think the drive on the bike stemmed from adversity."
Wiggins, who became the first British winner of the Tour de France with his 2012 triumph, also opened up on his battles with mental health issues, describing the most successful period of his cycling career as the "unhappiest period" of his life.
"In 2012, after winning the Tour de France, then winning at the Olympics, life was never the same again," he added.
"I was thrust into this fame and adulation that came with the success... I'm an introverted, private person. I didn't know who 'me' was, so I adopted a kind of veil – a sort of rock star veil.
"It wasn't really me... It was probably the unhappiest period of my life. Everything I did was about winning for other people, and the pressures that came with being the first British winner of the Tour. I really struggled with it."
Wiggins ended his cycling career in 2016, having won Olympic medals in four consecutive games between 2004 and 2016: in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.
British Cycling has offered support to Wiggins after the claims became public.