Sir Bradley Wiggins has begun training as a social worker in his latest career move. Having briefly tried his hand at rowing, the first Brit to ever win the Tour de France has enrolled to do a social work degree.
Wiggins, who has been very vocal about the tough upbringing that he had in Kilburn, west London, wants to distance himself from cycling, despite a recent successful stint as a pundit on Eurosport during the 2019 Tour.
In an interview with The Big Issue, Wiggins discussed his career change alongside the childhood that’s helped shape his decision.
He said: "Those horrific things I saw when I was growing up - nothing can shock me now, and I want to use that mental toughness working as a social worker. When people say, 'Oh, you're that cyclist', I'll say, 'No, that was a few years ago. I'm a social worker now'."
"Now I can do the TV job, but I've also enrolled to do an open university degree in social work," he added. "I want to help people."
As well as his Tour de France success, Wiggins was an Olympic champion and world champion in the time trial. In 2012 he was also voted at BBC Sports Personality of the Year, but more recently became involved in a doping scandal and public fallout with his former boss, Sir Dave Brailsford, when at Team Sky.
Leaked documents in 2016 appeared to show that the Londoner had used therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) during three major tours, including his Tour de France win in 2012. The incident was investigated by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (Ukad), with Wiggins, and Team Sky, denying any wrongdoing.
It was also announced this week that Team Wiggins, the professional cycling team designed to help young cyclists reach the world tour that Wiggins founded in 2015, will be closing down later this year.
Today, Wiggins wants to be recognised for something outside of sport.
He said: “I don’t give a s**t about my cycling career now. I’m just detached from it, I don’t want to live off the back of it.
“I live off of being me, and I’m happy in my own skin. I’ve gone full circle, I watch it as a fan now. I don’t expect to be recognised or anything. Some people like to cling on to those moments.
“I see it on social media every day, people who are supposed to be your friends, still celebrating that moment. ‘Seven years ago today my mate Bradley won this race in London..’ And I’m like, it was seven years ago, get over it mate.”
It’s likely that Wiggins will continue his TV work, given the positive feedback that it received, alongside his studies.
He said: “When I was offered a TV role I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. It took me a while to find myself, redefine myself, and come back to cycling without an ego.”
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