Peters’ involvement with British Cycling has been credited with the nation’s dominance at recent Olympic Games. But Wiggins told reporters last month that he is unconvinced by the psychologist’s famous ‘chimp theory’:
I always thought it was a load of rubbish. At the end of the day, chimp theories and marginal gains and all these buzzwords – a lot of the time, I just think you have got to get the fundamentals right: go ride your bike, put the work in, and you’re either good or you’re not good. Sometimes in life or in sport, whatever, you’re either good at something or you’re not.
But Eurosport pundit O’Sullivan, who has worked with Peters for the past six years, disagrees.
“I think Bradley Wiggins is a little bit like me,” O’Sullivan said. “He likes to say things just because he knows it’s going to shock a few people and sometimes it’s heat of the moment stuff and you get kind of excited by just kind of simplifying everything.
It would be like me saying ‘it’s just balls and a stick and putting them in the hole – what could be difficult about that?’
“In many ways I like his attitude,” Ronnie added. “I like that he’s just ‘get on and do it’ … ‘don’t look too deep into it’. ‘The man that trains hard, the man that wants it more will win,’ I kind of get that.”
Wiggins’ remarks also made headlines due to his decision to single out his fellow cyclist Victoria Pendleton, who struggled with the psychological side of her sport and has often credited Peters for helping her win two Olympic gold medals.
“For someone like Vicky Pendleton, who I would say is a little bit more like me, we kind of could never deal with the big occasion that well, the build-up,” O’Sullivan said. “We’d always put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have to do well and have to win and that would kind of get so strong, that feeling, that you’d get to the point where you’d think ‘I don’t even want to be here now, because I’m not enjoying it’.
“I don’t think Bradley had that kind of make-up that me and Vicky Pendleton had. I think Vicky Pendleton was more like me where her emotions would get the better of her and she’d think ‘I want to be anywhere but here’.
So, I kind of get what Bradley was saying, but me personally, speaking from my experience, I wouldn’t be the player I am today without Steve Peters and Vicky Pendleton probably wouldn’t have won the Olympic medals or whatever without Steve Peters.
“I think I needed Steve and he’s made me the player I am today. But then there’s some people that might not need Steve Peters and maybe Bradley Wiggins is one of them that doesn’t need it.
“What was the word he used – he called her a bit of a milkshake didn’t he?” O’Sullivan asked, referring to Wiggins’ description of Pendleton.
I don’t think Vicky Pendleton’s a milkshake. She’s a fierce competitor. She just probably didn’t relish the high expectations that she put on herself.
Wiggins had a supremely successful career, winning eight Olympic medals and becoming the first British cyclist in history to win the Tour de France. But the tail end of his road career saw him overshadowed by three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, and O’Sullivan believes that Wiggins could have fared better in that rivalry if he had used the support of a psychologist like Peters.
“I know what Steve’s all about and I know that he would improve anybody, and he’d probably improve Bradley Wiggins if Bradley Wiggins gave him the opportunity to work with him,” Ronnie said.
Bradley’s got his own way of doing things and it’s worked for him… but maybe if he’d have had Steve Peters in his corner he would probably have taken on the Chris Froome challenge a little bit more. Because in some ways that was what everybody wanted to see. They wanted to see Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome go head-to-head – now that would have been a rivalry! In my opinion if he’d have had Steve Peters in his corner maybe he could have taken that challenge on.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the third favourite with the bookmakers at this month’s World Championship, which starts on Saturday 15 April.
Read the original article on Eurosport: Ronnie talks Wiggins, Steve Peters, and why Pendleton is not a 'milkshake'