Sports Personality 2012: Bradley Wiggins – “I don’t think I’ll ever top it”

The Olympic champion and winner of the Tour de France reflects on the year he fulfilled his childhood dreams - and reveals his plans for the future

It’s a good thing Bradley Wiggins found cycling so young, because his life since has been decidedly one-tracked. “I’ve never had a job,” he says. “I’ve got no qualifications, all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was 12 years old is win an Olympic gold and wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. I’ve had nothing in my life that I wanted to concentrate on as much as that.”


In ten heady days this summer, he fulfilled those two lifetime ambitions: having become the first Briton to win the Tour, he rapidly became Britain’s most decorated Olympian, adding an Olympic gold to his existing collection of three golds, a silver and two bronzes. Which must make his life now feel very different.

“I don’t think I’ll ever top it. I’m 32 and I went from winning the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysées to champagne at the Ritz, then winning the Olympics time trial. It’s probably the best time of my life.”

Beforehand, though, he had his doubts, telling the cameras filming Sky Atlantic’s recent documentary, Bradley Wiggins: a Year in Yellow, “There’s a child in me that keeps thinking, ‘Sod the Olympics, you know, I want to go there and win it, but I don’t want to be part of Lord Coe and his band of merry men.’ ”

But it seems the experience of winning the time trial at Hampton Court in front of a jubilant home crowd changed him. “I went back out again,” he says recalling the euphoria after he crossed the finish line, “looking for my family, and had an incredible couple of hours. Better than the Tour de France – much better.”

After this golden year, what’s next? “I’d love to win the Giro d’Italia. For me, it’s as big as the Tour de France. And I’d love to try to win the Paris Roubaix – those are races that are close to me – and then maybe go back to the Tour one day and try to win that again.”

Which hardly sounds like a commitment to defend his title next year. Traditionally champions do, most notoriously Lance Armstrong. “Who said it’s tradition? Lance Armstrong? Well, look what’s happened to him. As it stands, I’ve won more Tours than him!”

You wonder which race in 2012 will mean most in the long run. “The Tour de France didn’t sink in, and it still hasn’t, really. I still don’t believe I’ve won it. I have to remind myself sometimes. I’m such a fan of the sport at heart that I never, ever thought I’d win the Tour de France.”

Bradley Wiggins: a Year in Yellow will be shown again on Sky Atlantic on 16 December

His moments

Historic first British winner of the Tour de France; gold medal in the men’s time trial, London Olympics

What the commentator said

“The winner of the Tour de France, the holder of three gold medals, and it looks like it’s going to be gold today. Here he comes, up to the line… have a look at the time… Bradley Wiggins is the Olympic champion! It’s golden gold for Bradley Wiggins, his fourth gold!”


Sports Personality of the Year 2012 begins on Sunday at 7:30pm on BBC1