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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Marc Wiggins, CBE, born 28 April 1980 is a British professional track and road bicycle racer, currently riding for Team Sky. Wiggins' career began on the track, where he specialised in the pursuit and madison disciplines.

He won a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics, three further medals at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, and two golds at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. In road cycling he turned professional in 2002, but his involvement was limited by his track cycling until 2007.

After the 2008 Olympics Wiggins took a break from the track to focus on the road. Initially viewed as a time-trial specialist and a rouleur, Wiggins showed his ability in stage races when he came in fourth at the 2009 Tour de France, the joint highest placed finish by a British rider in Tour history. In 2010 he was hired as the leader for the new Team Sky, and later that year was inducted in to the London Youth Games Hall of Fame. To date his biggest wins have been the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné – the first British rider to win the race since 1990 – and the 2012 Paris–Nice, the first British winner of the race in 45 years. Wiggins finished 3rd in the 2011 Vuelta a España, becoming one of three British riders to make the podium in a Grand Tour. Ten days later, Wiggins won the silver medal in the Time Trial at the World Road Cycling Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wiggins was part of the Great Britain team that helped Mark Cavendish win the 2011 UCI World Road Race Championship.


At 20, Wiggins won a bronze medal for Britain in the team pursuit at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

In 2001 he signed for the British professional road Linda McCartney Racing Team before it disbanded in early 2001. He joined Française des Jeux in 2002, before moving to Crédit Agricole in 2004.

At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Wiggins became the first British athlete in 40 years to win three medals at one Games, the last being Mary Rand at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He won the gold in the pursuit, silver in the team pursuit, and bronze in the madison with his race partner Rob Hayles. Wiggins was appointed OBE in the 2005 New Year Honours for services to sport.

In 2005, Wiggins rode Giro d'Italia for Crédit Agricole. He moved to Cofidis in 2006, and rode that year's Tour de France. He returned to the track for the Manchester round of the UCI World Cup and the world championships in 2007, winning the individual and team pursuit. He followed on the road by winning the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré.

He raced for Cofidis in the 2007 Tour de France and finished fourth in the prologue in London. He won the combativity award on stage six for a long solo breakaway. Cofidis withdrew after Cristian Moreni failed a doping test.

Wiggins had a difficult start to the Vuelta as Sky finished 42 seconds back on the opening Team Time Trial in Benidorm. However, a strong first week brought Wiggins back into contention, leaving him 19th overall after Stage 8. On Stage 9, Wiggins and teammate Chris Froome attacked on the final climb to finish 4th and 5th respectively, and taking time out of Joaquim Rodríguez, Michele Scarponi and other contenders. The stage moved both riders up in the standings, and Wiggins was expected to take the overall lead on the time trial the following day. However, Froome sprung a major surprise, finishing second on the stage, taking the red jersey for himself, whilst Wiggins rose to third overall. Wiggins took the leaders jersey, after the rest day. After losing a few seconds to Vincenzo Nibali on the following days, Stage 14 saw Wiggins and Froome taking time out of most of their rivals, with Nibali losing over a minute. Wiggins lost the lead of the Vuelta to Juan José Cobo on Stage 15, where he finished 5th on the climb up the Angliru. The Stage saw Wiggins drop to 3rd in the standings, with Froome ahead in second. Wiggins finished the Vuelta in 3rd overall, his first grand tour podium.

In September, Wiggins finished second behind Tony Martin in the UCI Road World Championship Time Trial to take the silver medal. Four days later, Wiggins was part of the Great Britain team that set up Mark Cavendish's victory in the Road Race.

Although 2012 is an Olympic year, Wiggins' focus remains on road racing. The individual pursuit is no longer an Olympic event, and in December 2011 coach Rod Ellingworth told The Guardian, "The chances of him doing the team pursuit are really slim now".  Wiggins is more likely to compete in the Olympic Road Race and Time Trial. Wiggins began his 2012 season with third place in the Volta ao Algarve, including victory in the race-concluding individual time trial, edging out world champion Tony Martin by less than a second. Wiggins also helped with team-mate Richie Porte's successful bid to win the race overall. In March, Wiggins finished second to Vacansoleil-DCM's Gustav Larsson in the opening time trial of Paris–Nice, despite setting his time in wet conditions. The following day he took the lead of the race after being part of a 30-man breakaway as the peloton split into echelons. He held the lead for the rest of the race, winning the final stage, a time-trial on the Col d'Èze, despite a strong challenge from Dutch rider Lieuwe Westra, of the Vacansoleil-DCM team. Starting the final 9.6 km (6.0 mi) stage with a 6-second lead, Wiggins beat Westra's time by two seconds, to win the race by eight seconds overall, becoming the first British rider to win the race since Tom Simpson in 1967. His final stage victory was also good enough to give him the points classification ahead of Alejandro Valverde.

On Stage 1 of the Tour de Romandie in April, Wiggins took a rare sprint victory from a group of 59 riders to take the race lead. He lost the jersey to Luis León Sánchez after the Spaniard won two consecutive stages. However, Wiggins won the final time trial, despite suffering a dropped chain, to take overall victory. He is the first British rider to win the event.
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