Cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins has opened up about being sexually abused by a trainer as a teenager and has spoken of an abusive relationship with his stepfather
Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed he was sexually groomed by a trainer when he was 13 (Picture: Getty Images)
British cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed he was sexually groomed by a trainer when he was just 13.
The 2012 Tour de France winner and three-time Olympic champion said he felt unable to speak at the time due to a difficult relationship with his stepfather. The 41-year-old cyclist admitted the ordeal had an impact on his adult life.
Speaking to Men’s Health UK magazine about his allegations, Sir Bradley said: “I was treated by a trainer when I was younger – I was around 13 – and I never fully accepted that.”
When asked if he had been groomed sexually, he added: “Yeah. It all got to me as an adult…I buried it. My stepdad was quite violent with me, he called me f****t because I was wearing Lycra and all, so I didn’t think I could tell him.
“I was so lonely…I just wanted to get out of the environment. I became so insular. I was a pretty weird teenager in a lot of ways and I think riding the bike stemmed from adversity.
“A difficult childhood”
Sir Bradley made the revelation in an interview with Men’s Health “Talking Heads” columnist Alastair Campbell in the magazine’s May issue, which goes on sale April 20.
The cycling star has previously opened up about his struggles with depression and a difficult childhood, and explained that he spent much of his life trying to figure out his relationship with his father.
Australian cyclist Gary Wiggins left the family when Bradley was just two years old and returned to Australia.
He later developed an addiction to alcohol and drugs and died in 2008. He was found murdered with a blow to the head following a fight at a house party.
When asked what he had tried to run away from in his life, Sir Bradley replied: ‘It was definitely to do with my father. Never getting answers when he was murdered in 2008.
“He left us when I was little, so I first met him when I was 18. We kind of rekindled a relationship but then we didn’t speak to each other for the last couple of years before we got together. he is not assassinated…
“He was my hero. I wanted to prove my worth to him. He was a good cyclist – he could have been really good – but he was a wasted talent. He was an alcoholic, a manic-depressive, quite violent and he was taking a lot of amphetamines and (sports) drugs at the time.
The year of success was “the most unhappy time of my life”
Sir Bradley, who grew up in Kilburn, north-west London, started cycling aged 12 after watching the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
He joined a cycling club like his father in the 70s after being encouraged by his mother Linda.
The 41-year-old reached the pinnacle of his sport in 2012 when he became Britain’s first Tour winner, before claiming Olympic gold in the time trial in London days later.
Although he had other successes, including winning the world time trial in 2014 and a third Olympic gold medal in the team pursuit in 2016, Sir Bradley said 2012 was the year he had stopped enjoying the life of a professional cyclist.
He explained: “After winning the Tour de France and then winning the Olympics, life was never the same.
“I was immersed in that fame and adulation that came with success…I’m an introverted, private person.
“I didn’t know who ‘me’ was, so I adopted a kind of veil – a kind of rock star veil. It wasn’t really me… It was probably the most unhappy time of my life.
“All I did was win for others and the pressures that came with being Britain’s first Tour winner. I really struggled with that.
But Sir Bradley added that he had now found a way to manage his mental health. He said, “I have to have a routine. Training every day is important. Not drinking too much… with my depression, if I don’t take care of myself, it feels more like a mania.
“I’ve always thought depression takes you to a dark room under a porch. I try to be funnier and end up being shocking and controversial.
Sir Bradley retired from professional cycling in 2016 and said at the time: “2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, up and up, ‘feet on the ground, head in the clouds’ “Kilburn kids don’t win Olympic gold. and Tour de France! They do now.