March 1, 2013
Two names may have dominated the world of cycling in 2012, but only one will be remembered fondly.
That name is Bradley Wiggins.
During a truly remarkable 12 months, the Briton won the Paris to Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour du Dauphine.
But it will inevitably be his landmark Tour de France and Olympic Time Trial success that makes him the stand out cycling champion of 2012.
Wiggins was Britain’s first ever winner of the Tour de France. But even more impressively, he was the first person to ever win both the world’s most prestigious cycling event alongside an Olympic gold cycling medal in the same year.
Considering the Tour is only ever a month before an Olympic Games, it’s easy to see why this is such an incredible athletic achievement.
This unique success has seen him nominated for sport’s most prestigious individual honour: the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
With his carefree rock star attitude, Wiggins has become a true hero to sports fans in his native Britain. But following his success in ‘The Tour’, he has emerged as an unlikely much-loved figure in France as well. Much of this is down to his slowing down the peloton in Stage 14 of the Tour when several riders, including his fierce rival Cadel Evans, suffered tyre punctures from tacks being thrown on the road by a spectator.
This earned Wiggins the nickname ‘Le Gentleman’ by French cycling fans, in honour of his sportsmanlike gesture.
Wiggins has said many times how he was inspired by multi Tour de France winner and Laureus Academy Member Miguel Indurain. Now Indurain is confident the Brit can look forward to Laureus Award success on March 11.
Indurain said: “He’s had a very regular season, not only has he won the Tour and a gold medal in the Olympics, but also other important competitions in the calendar. He has been an Olympic champion several times, so he has an important track record, but winning the tour is the ultimate recognition in the cycling world. Wiggins has evolved a lot in the past few years, above all when it comes to the mountain. He was a great specialist in the time trials but with a lot of training and struggle he has finally improved when it comes to mountain [stages] and finally won the Tour because of it. And to crown it, the gold in the time trials.”
Le Gentleman, or ‘Wiggo’ as he is known to British fans, may have dominated cycling in 2012, but is that enough to win the 2013 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award?
Let us know if you think Wiggins has your support in the comments below, and whether you think he deserves the Award over fellow Nominees Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Sebastian Vettel, Lionel Messi and Michael Phelps.