LONDON, Feb 05, 2014 (AFP) – Former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins
has revealed that his children had to move schools after they were bullied in
the wake of the Lance Armstrong drug revelations.
Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour in 2012, seven months
before American rider Armstrong was stripped of his seven victories in the
race after finally admitting to extensive doping.
Wiggins said that his increased public profile in Britain, coupled with the
fall-out from the Armstrong affair, made life “horrendous” for his two
“That (winning the Tour) changed everything,” Wiggins told several British
newspapers. “I left home pretty much unknown and came home the most famous man
in the country for that week.
“It was hard for me and the family. It affected them as well. The Lance
Armstrong thing in January… my kids started getting harassed at school. ‘Is
your dad on drugs? He won the Tour. Is he the same as Lance Armstrong?’
“Horrendous stuff. Horrible. My son getting bullied at school. I had to
move my kids from that school and move them to another school.
“I felt responsible for that and it all added to my unhappiness at the
time. But a year on, it feels like a complete contrast. I feel much more
comfortable in my own shoes now.”
Wiggins also said that his relationship with Team Sky colleague Chris
Froome had improved, as the pair look to make an impact on this year’s Tour.
Froome rode in support of Wiggins during his Tour success in 2012 before
succeeding him as champion in 2013, but his achievement received less
recognition in Britain and he was dogged by questions about doping in the wake
of the Armstrong scandal.
“I kind of felt I won the public over, especially the French public, two
years ago,” Wiggins said. “It’s like the film Gladiator — you win the public
and you win your freedom.
“I kind of won my freedom, whereas the opposite happened with Chris, if you
like. It would be nice to go back to the Tour and, if anything, just take the
pressure off Chris a little bit.
“Take some of those questions for him and challenge people for him.”