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Sir Bradley Wiggins “sick of being told how to feel” as he defends recent comments about Lance Armstrong

Says Geraint Thomas can win two more Tours de France

"I'm sick of being told how to feel about the sport by people who have never ridden a bike,” says Sir Bradley Wiggins. The 2012 Tour de France winner was responding to criticism of recent comments he has made about Lance Armstrong.

Wiggins included Armstrong in his new book, Icons, and has spent much of the last week doing the media rounds defending the decision.

His argument is that, regardless of what came later, Armstrong was one of the most significant figures who inspired him to become a cyclist.

“He’s iconic for good and bad reasons now, whether people like it or not,” he said.

Wiggins later described Armstrong as ‘the perfect winner’ of the Tour de France. This was according to the definition of the race’s founder, Henri Desgrange, who envisaged the ideal Tour as being one in which only one rider finished.

Not everyone has been happy to accept the nuance of Wiggins’ position. The Times said the inclusion of Armstrong in Icons "astonished the world of cycling," while the Daily Mail said he had been "praising the drug cheat Armstrong".

The comments sections under our news stories have featured significantly more colourful language.

Appearing at the Rouleur Classic exhibition in London on Thursday, Wiggins stood firm, telling Cycling News: “I'll decide what I want to feel about the sport."

He said: "This isn't to condone anything he did. He knows he did wrong, but at some point, you've got to get on with your life.”

He added: "I understand the open wound that cycling has. I understand that. Everyone's got the right to an opinion, but for me it's not a debate. I'm not going to go on Question Time and debate it, but that's the way I feel, having written this book, and I've realised that's how I feel.

The 2018 Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas, has said he felt Wiggins lost his motivation once he’d won the race in 2012, but claimed the same couldn’t be said of himself.

Wiggins too sees no reason why Thomas couldn’t win again.

"He was without doubt the strongest rider in the Tour and he could win another two Tours, depending on how the team goes now," he said. "A Chris Froome on form for sure has got another Tour win in him, and he will want that for five. We'll see how it pans out."

Thomas says he has barely spoken to Wiggins in recent years, but his former team-mate clearly holds the Welshman in high regard – perhaps partly because his career achievements echo his own.

"This is a guy who has been team pursuit world champion, Olympic team pursuit champion, seventh in Paris-Roubaix. There's not many Tour winners who can go top 10 in Paris-Roubaix, so it shows you the diversity of G.

"One thing G is really good at – that he doesn't get enough praise for – is the way he rides on the flat stages. I don't think he came out of the top 10 positions in the whole Tour.”

That, you feel, is an opinion that is far less likely to get people talking.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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20 comments

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Tony | 5 years ago
0 likes

People seem to be confusing fact with opinion and opinion with the people expressing the opinion.   The statement above ‘Armstrong was one of the most significant figures who inspired him to become a cyclist.”  is a not debatable fact.   Only Wiggo knows what went on in his head in his youth and it cannot be disputed by anyone but him.   There is opinion as to whether Armstrong is an icon and that is open to debate.   But too many people are not debating that opinion but rather making ad-hominem attacks on the opinion holder.  

I am inclined to agree with Wiggo.  Armstrong in his TdeF years got me interested in the TdeF and I followed the Tours with excitement.  I will never forget that “come on if you’re hard enough” 2001 Alpe d’Huez stare at fellow doper, Ulrich.  In those years he generated a great deal of interest in cycling and cycle racing.  It was bad for cycling but the main conplaint seems to be he did doping better than the rest of the peleton.  There is hardly a top ten finisher in any of those years who didn’t dope and it was an omerta.  You either doped to stand a chance or didn’t bother racing in those days.  Not good but that was the reality (and still is in many sports).   So my opinion is that I am glad that doping is beiing driven out of the sport so that people don’t have to make the dope or don’t bother choice but Armstrong was the best doper in a field of dopers - which kind of echoes Wiggo’s comment about the origins of the race.

Don’s flameproof suit and sits back with popcorn,

Avatar
rix | 5 years ago
2 likes

He decided to publish the book, for his own reasons (£££), and now he is complaining about fallout. I'm sure most of the cyclists do not care about his book, he does.

Stop whining! indecision

Avatar
kingleo | 5 years ago
1 like

Fousto Coppi and Jacques Anquitell took performance improving drugs - they are seen as the great heroes of cyclesport, but not Lance Armstrong. Explanation please?

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don simon fbpe replied to kingleo | 5 years ago
8 likes
kingleo wrote:

Fousto Coppi and Jacques Anquitell took performance improving drugs - they are seen as the great heroes of cyclesport, but not Lance Armstrong. Explanation please?

Did they bully, threaten and sue anyone who considered blowing the whistle on them? Lance is head and shoulders above your standard doper, he took it down to a whole new level.

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to don simon fbpe | 5 years ago
1 like
don simon wrote:
kingleo wrote:

Fousto Coppi and Jacques Anquitell took performance improving drugs - they are seen as the great heroes of cyclesport, but not Lance Armstrong. Explanation please?

Did they bully, threaten and sue anyone who considered blowing the whistle on them? Lance is head and shoulders above your standard doper, he took it down to a whole new level.

Merckx was a bully, denied doping and continued to dope despite being caught (multiple times in 3 big events where he was DQ'd + one minor event) in an era of limited testing.

You say bully, only if you allow people like that to bully you, even the pathetic journos allowed him to say what he wanted without shouting him down. piss weak.

Armstrong is no worse than Merckx, only one has been treated as a pariah, unfairly so.

ATEOTD being a twat, saying a few nasty things/stuff others find offensive does not break the rules, otherwise most elite sportsmen would be banned, stripped of titles and taken to court for some trumped up bullshit.

Avatar
Simon E replied to kingleo | 5 years ago
1 like
kingleo wrote:

Fousto Coppi and Jacques Anquitell took performance improving drugs - they are seen as the great heroes of cyclesport, but not Lance Armstrong. Explanation please?

If you have followed the sport for more than 5 minutes - as opposed to attending the Church of Lance - you shouldn't have to ask that question. However, since you said "please" I'll chip in (though I've docked you a point for your grammar  3 ).

Coppi & Anquetil were not universally considered angels; Coppi was humiliated and spurned by many in Italy - just read a bit about him. Anquetil pissed off plenty of people in his time, though for very different reasons. Part of the apparent adulation is due to a recent trend for arty rose-tinted imagery produced/reproduced by the likes of Rapha and Rouleur. In a recent interview Jean Bobet clearly differentiated between Anquetil (who he did not respect) and Simpson (who he did and liked very much), even though both were doping without hiding it, something with which he disagreed strongly.

Everyone has an opinion, that's the easy bit. The difference between a worthwhile opinion and one that is not depends on what it's based on. Invariably those with the most black & white / staunch / polarised views are the ones who understand the least. This applies in every sphere of life, not just sport.

Is Bradley really "sick of being told how to feel"? I don't know but his publishers must be chuffed as it will certainly keep his book in the public domain for a little while longer.

Avatar
EddyBerckx replied to Simon E | 5 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
kingleo wrote:

Fousto Coppi and Jacques Anquitell took performance improving drugs - they are seen as the great heroes of cyclesport, but not Lance Armstrong. Explanation please?

If you have followed the sport for more than 5 minutes - as opposed to attending the Church of Lance - you shouldn't have to ask that question. However, since you said "please" I'll chip in (though I've docked you a point for your grammar  3 ).

Coppi & Anquetil were not universally considered angels; Coppi was humiliated and spurned by many in Italy - just read a bit about him. Anquetil pissed off plenty of people in his time, though for very different reasons. Part of the apparent adulation is due to a recent trend for arty rose-tinted imagery produced/reproduced by the likes of Rapha and Rouleur. In a recent interview Jean Bobet clearly differentiated between Anquetil (who he did not respect) and Simpson (who he did and liked very much), even though both were doping without hiding it, something with which he disagreed strongly.

Everyone has an opinion, that's the easy bit. The difference between a worthwhile opinion and one that is not depends on what it's based on. Invariably those with the most black & white / staunch / polarised views are the ones who understand the least. This applies in every sphere of life, not just sport.

Is Bradley really "sick of being told how to feel"? I don't know but his publishers must be chuffed as it will certainly keep his book in the public domain for a little while longer.

Just to add a couple points. Doping was 100% legal until the mid 60's then 'effectively legal for decades longer - due to the authorities not giving a toss and the public likewise. How could they work them to the bone otherwise?

As to Bradley's comments...they are mostly fair enough. Lance inspired him as a youngster in the period the general public didn't know the truth. Though I had read Indurain was the main influence on young Bradders, so.maybe this is a bit of cheeky PR for the book

Avatar
kingleo replied to Simon E | 5 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
kingleo wrote:

Fousto Coppi and Jacques Anquitell took performance improving drugs - they are seen as the great heroes of cyclesport, but not Lance Armstrong. Explanation please?

If you have followed the sport for more than 5 minutes - as opposed to attending the Church of Lance - you shouldn't have to ask that question. However, since you said "please" I'll chip in (though I've docked you a point for your grammar  3 ).

Coppi & Anquetil were not universally considered angels; Coppi was humiliated and spurned by many in Italy - just read a bit about him. Anquetil pissed off plenty of people in his time, though for very different reasons. Part of the apparent adulation is due to a recent trend for arty rose-tinted imagery produced/reproduced by the likes of Rapha and Rouleur. In a recent interview Jean Bobet clearly differentiated between Anquetil (who he did not respect) and Simpson (who he did and liked very much), even though both were doping without hiding it, something with which he disagreed strongly.

Everyone has an opinion, that's the easy bit. The difference between a worthwhile opinion and one that is not depends on what it's based on. Invariably those with the most black & white / staunch / polarised views are the ones who understand the least. This applies in every sphere of life, not just sport.

Is Bradley really "sick of being told how to feel"? I don't know but his publishers must be chuffed as it will certainly keep his book in the public domain for a little while longer.

I have been following the sport for 60 years , I  saw Anquitell race in the tour, he was seen as a great hero, I was there, I know what I saw and read. When it came to drug taking he was as bad as Lance Armstrong.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
2 likes

What he says about Armstrong is far from the worst thing you'll hear from a cyclist or anyone else for that matter, he says it how he sees it. The slating he's been getting are from people who can't read or who are utterly ignorant or both.

I'd be sick of people who are uneducated fuckwits, given the amount of grief he and particularly his kids have been on the end of after the false allegations by parliament, so much so that he had to move away from where they lived and his kids having to start again I'd be a bit hacked off with plebs.

Do I see him as a 'hero', no, he's been a top cyclist that has brought millions entertaining moments, he's a bit of a moody fecker but then I think we'd be bored shitless with nothing to talk about if everyone were boring toe the line types like Hoy.

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Tony | 5 years ago
2 likes

Not sure what people are expecting him to do.  AIUI the book is about the events and people that shaped his love of the sport and Armstrong seems to have had a strong influence on the young Wiggo.   Is he supposed to pretend that never happened and write it out of his history?    If that were the case he would have to ignore most of the cycling names of that era because most of them have subsequently been found to have doped.   And God forbid anyone mentions Tommy Simpson!

 

P.S Last I knew no-one was forcing you to buy let alone read his book.  Just say No. 

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Kadinkski replied to Tony | 5 years ago
4 likes
Tony wrote:

Not sure what people are expecting him to do.  

To accept that others have an opinion too and that they can challenge and debate his assertions.

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davel replied to Kadinkski | 5 years ago
2 likes
Kadinkski wrote:
Tony wrote:

Not sure what people are expecting him to do.  

To accept that others have an opinion too and that they can challenge and debate his assertions.

...especially since his opinions are being challenged by the public precisely because he's made them public.

Seems to be a pretty straightforward solution to this. I think vonhelmet's already touched on it. 

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RMurphy195 replied to Tony | 5 years ago
0 likes
Tony wrote:

Not sure what people are expecting him to do.  AIUI the book is about the events and people that shaped his love of the sport and Armstrong seems to have had a strong influence on the young Wiggo.   Is he supposed to pretend that never happened and write it out of his history?    If that were the case he would have to ignore most of the cycling names of that era because most of them have subsequently been found to have doped.   And God forbid anyone mentions Tommy Simpson!

 

+1

Armstrong got me watching the TDF again until, like Indurain in cycling and Schumacher in F1, it got boring watching the same person winning all the time. And I used to think of the Tommy Simpson legend as well. In both cases (LA and TS) I was very disappointed when the truth came out, especially having read "Its not about the bike", but there you are.

If a person's achievements do inspire others, and they subsequently write about what inspired/encouraged them even when later on the "inspirer" is shown to be not what he seemed at the time - the inspiration was still there, and its part of the writer's history.

Haven't read Wiggo's book and have no intention of doing so, by the way - it's not my sort of book. Murray Walker's memoirs, or Terry Wogan's, however, thats a different matter!

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Dnnnnnn | 5 years ago
5 likes

All publicity...

 

Coming up next... Kim Kardashian doesn't want to be judged on her appearance.

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don simon fbpe | 5 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

Appearing at the Rouleur Classic exhibition in London on Thursday, Wiggins stood firm, telling Cycling News (link is external): “I'll decide what I want to feel about the sport."

Perfect, but don't expect everyone to agree with you, especially on a topic as significant as Lance "who?" Armstrong.

When you've got  over this little trauma Wiggsy Baby, come on here and opine, against the flow, about Team Sky, sit back and let the vitriol wash over you...

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Marin92 | 5 years ago
8 likes

Good to see Wiggins giving a rounded opinion, not just bowing to the most shouty sock puppets.

 

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keirik | 5 years ago
5 likes

if you don't like it vonhelmet, then become a professional cyclist then I'm sure he'll be happy to consider your opinion.
Otherwise I think he's also entitled to have an opinion about people spouting who know nothing about the sport.
You're right it does cut both ways

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vonhelmet replied to keirik | 5 years ago
7 likes
keirik wrote:

if you don't like it vonhelmet, then become a professional cyclist then I'm sure he'll be happy to consider your opinion.
Otherwise I think he's also entitled to have an opinion about people spouting who know nothing about the sport.
You're right it does cut both ways

He’s the one who wants an adoring public to buy his book... Adulation is not guaranteed. Edgelording it by invoking Lance is just stupid. Obviously that’s going to provoke a reaction. You don’t say that if you’re not looking for attention, and you have to be ready for some of that attention to be negative.

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davel replied to keirik | 5 years ago
2 likes
keirik wrote:

if you don't like it vonhelmet, then become a professional cyclist then I'm sure he'll be happy to consider your opinion.
Otherwise I think he's also entitled to have an opinion about people spouting who know nothing about the sport.

Yeah course he is. But whining about the public having an opinion about his opinions, which he has made public, is the very definition of being a whiny celeb.

Avatar
vonhelmet | 5 years ago
6 likes

If he’s sick of it, he can always shut up. It cuts both ways. If you want to share your views with the public, the public might have some thoughts on those views.

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