Bradley Wiggins, the first rider from Great Britain to win the Tour de France, is starting a cycling team to offer opportunities to young British riders.
“Cycling has given me everything,” Wiggins said in a press release quoted by theguardian.com. “Now I want to build something to inspire kids and to reach all those people who might be on the fringes of the sport. My message is simple: If I can do it, then so can you.”
Team Wiggins will officially launch after the 34-year-old rider’s April 2015 retirement from Team Sky following his last attempt at the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic. Sky, which sponsored Team Sky since its inception in 2010, will also sponsor Team Wiggins.
Team Wiggins, which has set the 2016 Olympics in Rio as its first big target, will feature an array of young British talent including Andy Tennant, Owain Doull, Mark Christian, Jon Dibben, Steven Burke, Daniel Patten, Mike Thompson and Iain Paton.
“Anyone can have a crack at it and measure themselves against the best in the world,” Wiggins told the guardian.com. “We’ve seen cycling grow in popularity over the last few years and I want ‘Wiggins’ to inspire a new generation of cyclists.”
Wiggins will hang up his professional cycling shoes for good after the Rio Olympics, after hopefully becoming Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete. He is currently tied with fellow cyclist Chris Hoy with seven medals overall (though Hoy has six golds.)
Wiggins will also attempt to set a new hour record this summer—on live TV. The UCI fastest hour record stood unbroken for nine years until Germany’s Jens Voigt raised the mark to 31.76 mph (51.11 kph) on Sept 18, 2014, only to see it fall to Austria’s Matthias Brändle’s 32.22 mph (51.86 kph) on October 30.
“I’ve dreamt about the Hour Record since I was a boy,” Wiggins explained. The Brit might have an edge in the hour, since the race is run on an indoor track, while Voigt and Brändle are primarily road riders. Wiggins will feel completely at home in the velodrome.
The 34-year-old Wiggins started his cycling successes in 1998, winning the Individual pursuit event at the Junior Track World Championships. he went on to win four Olympic gold medals, six World Championships in different events, and numerous stage races, including the Tour de France in 2012, a year which saw him also ride to victory in Paris–Nice, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and the Olympic Time Trials.