Wednesday, 18 July 2012
Brad Wiggins alluded to a tough upbringing when he was asked what his late Australian father would make of his Tour de France achievements.
"I don't know, really - it's difficult to say, it depends whether he was sober," Wiggins said.
Asked again about his father Gary, Wiggins replied simply: "I've put that one to bed."
Gary Wiggins died in suspicious circumstances after he was found unconscious in a street in Aberdeen, NSW four years ago.
Gary, himself a leading track cyclist, left his wife Linda when Brad was two years old.
He did not make contact with Brad for another 14 years and they had a complex, tenuous relationship.
After Gary's death, relatives found scrapbooks full of clippings about Brad's cycling career when they cleaned out his flat.
"Especially with the six days (track racing), that was his thing, and to get into that ... he was very proud, but obviously a lot has changed since then," Brad said.
One thing that has not changed since stage seven of this year's Tour is that Wiggins has an iron grip on the yellow jersey as race leader.
Wiggins fronted a packed media conference on Tuesday's rest day before the two crucial stages in the Pyrenees mountains.
Provided he suffers no surprise setbacks in those stages, Wiggins should confirm he will be the first British rider to win the Tour with a strong performance in Saturday's time trial stage.
The following day, the Tour ends in Paris.
Wiggins, an interesting character who speaks his mind, had another gem quote for the media as he discussed what it was like to be at the centre of attention in the Tour.
"You get really good at ignoring people and it is an incredible bubble to be in, but in a nice way," he said.
"I remember (Rolling Stone) Keith Richard saying 'with a gram of smack, you can walk through anything'.
"I'm not going to adhere to that, but you can understand why they used to - it's not really reality.
"But as a kid, you dream of being in these positions, so it's fantastic."
The 32-year-old said he was unconcerned about the tough climbs through the Pyrenees or the pressure that comes with leading the Tour.
"You can get drawn in, it's this life-and-death situation, and I used to be like that on the track, years ago when I was in Olympic finals," he said.
"I'd go up against (Australian) Brad McGee and think 'what am I going to do if I don't win this? What's going to happen - are they going to send me to the gallows?'
"When you're 23, it really feels like that.
"As you get older ... your kids, they don't care, they're not really bothered - so those things help you handle these situations a lot better."