Retired cyclist Bradley Wiggins has used a quote from Roy Keane as he launched a strong defence of his reputation amid doping suspicions, as he hit out at the allegations swirling around him and appeared to belittle his former Team Sky chief Dave Brailsford.
Wiggins won the Tour de France as a Team Sky rider in 2012, yet the rising tide of suspicion surrounding the stunningly successful British team has seen the achievements of the five-time Olympic gold medalist cast under a cloud amid doping suspicions.
Wiggins has vowed to ‘shock people’ when he gives his full account of events that are currently part of an investigation into the workings of Team Sky, yet he was keen to pour scorn on the notion that psychologist Dr Steve Peters was one of the key reasons why British cycling has produced so much success in Olympic and road racing in recent years.
Former British Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton has credited Peters for helping to turn her into a gold medalist, but Wiggins is very much in the Keano camp when it comes to the use of sports psychologists.
“Vicky’s a bit of a milkshake anyway,” he said, in a comments that will not be well received by Pendleton.
“You can overanalyse things but at the end of the day, it’s about your ability and whether you’re a better athlete than the other person or not.
“Whether you’ve come to grips with this other person living inside you, it’s all a bit... well, each to his own. That may work with some people, but as Roy Keane would say: it’s utter nonsense.”
In an interview with the Telegraph that may give a glimpse into the kind of defence he will offer up once the investigation into Team Sky has been concluded, Wiggins appeared to dismiss the importance of Brailsford in the Team Sky set-up and suggested success of the team was purely down to the riders.
Brailsford has been credited for formulating a “Secret Squirrel Club”, now known as ‘Room X’ under head of technical development Tony Purnell, to find any slight advantage through modifications to bike technology and riders’ clothing, yet Wiggins suggested that idea was overblown.
“A lot of people made a lot of money out of it and David Brailsford used it constantly as his calling card, but I always thought it was a load of rubbish,” stated Wiggins.
“It’s a bit like the whole chimp thing. At the end of the day, chimp theories and marginal gains and all these buzzwords - a lot of the time, I just think you have got to get the fundamentals right: go ride your bike, put the work in, and you’re either good or you’re not good.
“Sometimes in life or in sport, whatever, you’re either good at something or you’re not. That’s what makes you a better athlete: your physical ability and whether you’ve trained enough - not whether you’ve slept on a certain pillow or mattress.”