Sir Bradley Wiggins has called marginal gains “a load of rubbish” and described his former Team GB track colleague Victoria Pendleton as “a bit of a milkshake”.
Speaking at a corporate event in the City of London – his first public appearance since breaking a leg on The Jump – the five-time Olympic champion said he felt the marginal gains mantra had been over-egged.
“A lot of people made a lot of money out of it and [Team Sky principal] David Brailsford used it constantly as his calling card,” Wiggins said, according to Eurosport who had a reporter at the event. “But I always thought it was a load of rubbish.
“It’s a bit like the whole chimp thing,” Wiggins added, referring to Dr Steve Peters, Team Sky’s former head of medicine and author of The Chimp Paradox.
“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.
“That’s what makes you a better athlete: your physical ability and whether you’ve trained enough – not whether you’ve slept on a certain pillow or mattress.”
Told that Pendleton said she could never have won all her medals without Peters’ input, Wiggins joked: “But Vicky’s a bit of a milkshake anyway.
"You can overanalyse things but at the end of the day, it’s about your ability and whether you’re a better athlete than the other person or not. Whether you’ve come to grips with this other person living inside you, it’s all a bit… well, each to his own. That may work with some people, but as Roy Keane would say: it’s utter nonsense.”
Wiggins, who recently signed a multi-million-pound deal with Skoda, also joked that he would not put his mother in one. The 36-year-old was not asked about UK Anti-Doping’s ongoing investigation into a medical package delivered to him at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.