Ace racer to rockstar! Wiggins swaps Tour de France for tour de force on party scene
23:19 GMT, 17 December 2012
Asked how he would celebrate being voted the nation’s Sports Personality of the Year, Bradley Wiggins winked.
‘I will go home and have a cup of tea,’ he said before breaking into a smile. ‘It’s a free bar so it would be rude not to give it a hiding.’ That sounds more like it.
Seven hours later a bleary-eyed Wiggins was photographed in a McDonald’s; his blue velvet double-breasted suit from a Soho tailor looking more than a tad dishevelled.
King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY
He had already treated the guests at the BBC’s after-show party to a rendition of The Jam’s That’s Entertainment and Wonderwall by Oasis and then carried on celebrating with his wife, Cath, at a central London nightclub. Not bad for Great Britain’s first winner of the Tour de France, surely one of the fittest athletes on the planet.
But then Wiggins, as Lord Coe put it on Sunday night, has ‘that rock star quality’.
He manages to be the last man standing after five hours of cycling on brutal terrain or a long drinking session in the pub; looking equally at home in his racing Lycra or with a bottle of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
‘He just cuts it,’ said Coe. ‘Bradley is where it is at the moment. I think it is an unbelievable year that he has had but he is just edgy, isn’t he Sporting characters have got to capture the public imagination and he does that.’
Wiggins might have a penchant for Paul Weller but he was certainly not buying into the suggestion he has reached rock-star status by wearing the yellow jersey and winning seven Olympic medals, four of them gold.
Pub talk: Bradley Wiggins kisses the iconic trophy last night (left) and (right) thanks his nan in his speech
Over to you, Sue: Sue Barker (left) chats to Bradley Wiggins during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL London last night
The Farmers Arms in Heskin will be the first pub that the Tour de France winner takes his award to
‘I won the Tour de France,’ said
Wiggins. ‘Without this award I would still be me. I am just very
grateful to everyone who has helped me. There’s only the knighthood to
come, isn’t there, really’
Few knights of the realm, though, would give their Sports Personality of the Year award to their nan for safekeeping.
Even fewer would then take it on a
tour of the pubs near their home in Lancashire: the Farmers Arms in
Heskin and the Original Farmers Arms in Eccleston. Their hosts told
Sportsmail yesterday they would be delighted to look after the famous
‘It would be
absolutely great,’ said Ann Rothwell, landlady of the Farmers Arms. ‘He
lives in between the two pubs and he does pop in here now and again, but
he’s an athlete, isn’t he He doesn’t frequent the pub that often.’
When he does, you imagine Wiggins might indulge in more than one glass of his favourite tipple: vodka and tonic.
Dave Brailsford, performance director
of British Cycling, recognised Wiggins’s talent as soon as he saw his
body shape and the ‘fluid’ way he pedals, but there was something else
that showed ‘this young lad was special’.
Support: Barry Newton, landlord of the Original Farmers Arms, said that Wiggo had a lot of support in the pub
‘Once he decides he wants to do something — like all the greats — he really does make it,’ said Brailsford.
‘There’s something reminiscent of
David Beckham practising free-kicks, of Jonny Wilkinson (practising his
kicking) in Brad. It’s that type of obsession he has.’
The desire to achieve remains, too.
Wiggins has repeatedly stated he wants to win another Tour de France,
forcing Team Sky into a difficult decision as to whether the defending
champion, Chris Froome or both lead the team next year.
But the ‘obsession’ remains for
Wiggins, who needed a search party to track him down during a training
camp in Majorca last week, such was his eagerness to do ‘just that
little bit more’.
Suits you: Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins shows off the trophy
‘Bradley’s capacity to work hard is
unbelievable,’ said Brailsford. ‘It’s off the scale. But he’s learnt how
to manage himself and his sport and he’s become an extremely coachable
'He was up at 7.30 in the gym in
Majorca. He did five hours (on the bike) then went out on his own and
did another couple of hours.
‘Two days ago we actually sent
somebody out to look for him because it was starting to get dark and we
thought, “Where’s Brad” He had gone just that bit more.’
Perhaps we should all raise a glass to that.