Miguel Indurain, the man who won the Tour de France an incredible FIVE times, not to mention the gold medal in the time trial road race at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, says that Britain’s Bradley Wiggins’ recent success is down to the cyclist’s hard-found and ‘evolved’ abilties.
Indurain, whom Wiggins describes as his hero, was talking to Laureus.com about what is possible for the self-styled ‘Mod’ cyclist in the future.
Indurain said: “Wiggins has been great, he has won medals, world championships 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.”
Earlier this week, Bradley Wiggins, who yesterday became the first man to win both the Tour de France and the gold medal in the Olympic time trial road race in the same year, came out saying how much of an inspiration Indurain had been in his own early development.
And Indurain now believes that, with the right luck, he has developed to the point that further success is now inevitable.
Indurain said: “If they do a Tour with enough time trials, which is his speciality, and he is in good enough shape, he could win again. This year he has demonstrated the good strength in these several leg competitions.”
Following his Tour de France victory last week, Wiggins also revealed that Indurain had sent him a good luck gift, and we were keen to find out how this came about.
Indurain told us: “A Spanish reporter told me he was a big fan and follower of my career. So I sent him my regards and, as a present, a red scarf typical of San Fermines [where Indurain is from].”
One thing that became clear during Wiggins’ epic journey to the Arc de Triomphe, was the impact of a strong team of cyclists around him. And Indurain is a firm believer in the equal importance of the individual and those racing along with him.
“Cycling is a mix,” Indurain told us, “it is an individual sport as you have to pedal, but you also need to have a well structured team behind you with clear ideas, a team that supports you every day.
“Without a strong team you cannot win a major event like the Tour.”
Now the Laureus Academy Member is confident the Brit can look froward to Nomination for a Laureus Award next year. “Yes, 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.”