At the end of last year we were lucky enough to chat to the now reigning Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins. Here’s what he had to say…
What do you know of the sport of tri and are you aware of the Brownlees and their success?
I’ve only seen the Brownlees on the telly. I’ve followed triathlon a little bit from afar, purely through having a lot of admiration for the sport. I mean cycling is a bloody hard spot but triathlon is probably the hardest sport in the world really. Because they have to do the training that we do for the cycling but as well as everything else.
I know how hard it is to run cause I can’t run to save my life. Knowing just hard it is, I can’t imagine doing that after a bike ride and a swim as well. Just trying to juggle those three events. And some of the fittest people in the world are triathletes, fitter than cyclists and fitter than many other sport people. And I have incredible admiration for what they do. And that probably goes back to when I was a kid. When I used to go out training I used to go out with a lad who was world champion at the time, Spencer Smith. So I knew him quite well, I looked up to him a lot. He was an incredibly strong cyclist. I was 12 at the time and he was someone to really look up to.
So you don’t fancy a crack at a tri one day?
Never, never. I couldn’t swim in open water for that far. I’m just really not that good a swimmer. And I certainly couldn’t run that well and then cycle. I could probably do a duathlon but not a triathlon. I’ve always liked the thought of maybe doing Ironman or something, you know just once to say you’ve done it. But then I look at it and I think that’s mad, I couldn’t do it.
So the Tour and the Olympics in the same year…
For me it’s simple, it’s five weeks really, that’s my goal – Tour and Olympics. And I’m getting incredibly greedy doing both but I want to do both. Both are my priority and both mean just as much to me really.
So you’re counting on the strength you’ll have accrued over the Tour to see you through the Olympics?
We train to the demands of the Tour, and I think for me, that’s sort of the difference between being great and being mediocre is trying to do both. And trying to achieve both. But yeah we’ll find out. I believe I can do both and the coaching team behind me are telling me we can do both based on the evidence we have, so we’re going to try and do it.
You lost weight for the Tour, what effect has that had on your power on the track?
We went back to the track last year in January to do the world cup, and it doesn't seem to have had any effect really and that comes through working quite closely with Nigel Mitchell who’s been my nutritionist for god knows how many years now. We’ve kind of sort of… just the way we work has never really compromised that power. So everything we do in terms of weight we do really slowly and monitor it constantly so it never affects power. If anything it’s probably increased a little bit on the track so that’s been the biggest surprise really.
Were you disappointed to see the loss of the 4km individual pursuit from the Olympics for 2012?
Yeah I think so, but at the same time it probably made my decision to go on the road a lot easier. If they hadn’t have done I probably would have stuck around until 2012 to have another shot at it, and I would have never have done what I’ve done on the road.
What’s your favourite/the best TT bike you’ve ever ridden?
Probably my Pinarello that I have at the moment and that I rode at the world championships this year.
What do you think are the most important things to look for in a TT bike?
For me it’s stiffness in the front-end handlebar set-up, cause that always the first thing that hits the wind really. And just having a really comfortable position. So just being comfortable on the bike in terms of getting the power out and then start looking at your position and tweaking that. Most people just try to go for the most aerodynamic position and then not being able to get the power out.
And your bike handling tips for riding in the aero position?
I mean it’s slightly different for us cause we’re just riding for one hour, say maximum one hour. We’ve not just got of the lake! But I think, obviously safety is paramount in triathlon cause you’re constantly avoiding people all the time, so having a position that you’re able to get to the brakes easily. Cause you see these little bars and they have these funny little brakes… there’s a triathlon that goes right past my house in Bolton [Ironman UK], so I see all these people going up past my house all day, and some of their positions on the bike were shocking, you know. People were crashing because of it, so it’s important to get quite a nice, safe position.
IMAGE: L-R, Bradley Wiggins with Team Sky members Alex Dowsett and Ian Stannard
Bradley was speaking at the launch of the Gatorade G Series Pro range, a new series of sports performance products that fuel athletes before, during and after workout, practice or competition. Available to buy in stores now.