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'Michael Rogers would make a much better prime minister than Boris'

Joe Robinson
21 Aug 2019

Cyclist caught up with the 2012 Tour de France champion ahead of his 'An Evening With' tour starting next month. Photo: Peter Stuart

Bradley Wiggins was a card at the recent Tour de France, wasn’t he? Hanging off the back of a TV motorbike, joking about Boris Johnson, making friends with Maxime Bouet and getting a little loose on champagne.

In fact, he proved quite the popular revelation of a finely dialled Eurosport team that outshone itself covering the Tour this July. But that's not all Wiggins is up to at the moment, no.

In fact, he seems to be the busiest man in show business preparing for a new comedy TV show called 'Gods of the Game', set to air in 2020, keeping an eye on his collaborative clothing range with Le Col and hashing out the content of his 'An Evening With Bradley Wiggins' tour starting next month.

While on holiday in Ibiza, Cyclist caught up with Wiggins for the bi-annual 15-minute chat with the yellow jersey winner who took some time out of his day to talk about his new TV gameshow, his experience on the Tour TV moto and winning a cow’s tongue at a crit in Belgium.

Cyclist: What are you doing at the moment after your Tour de France moto cameo?

Bradley Wiggins: I’m in Ibiza on holiday but I’m down by the quiet bit, not Oceana and Amnesia.

Cyc: Been down to Ocean Beach and seen Wayne Linekar (bar owner and brother of footballer Gary) yet?

BW: Wayne Linekar has been here but I haven’t been down to Ocean Beach yet, too many Jamie O’Haras.

Cyc: You are taking your stage show Icons back around the country next month. So what’s scarier: being on stage or being on a moto at the Tour de France?

BW: Probably the Tour de France actually because I like talking about the stories on stage. Telling people stuff, getting people to leave with something they may not know, even about me because there’s a public perception of me which isn’t necessarily reality anymore. I’ve changed quite a lot.

The moto stuff was great. I could have sat there 10 hours a day; it came easy to me and I loved it. It was superb.

Cyc: Was anybody surprised to see you?

BW: A few were surprised. Took a while for people to realise it was me on the back of the bike. It was nice seeing some of the riders coming back through the bunch and saying hello.

Particularly with that clip that went big with Maxime Bouet. ‘I love you man’.

Cyc: What can we expect from Icons this year?

BW: Inevitably, there will be new stuff as my career is now as a pundit so there will be stuff to discuss about that. I’ll have some new memorabilia but I don’t really plan it because the best stuff isn’t contrived. How I went with it last year.

Photo: Offside

Cyc: Have you acquired any new memorabilia since Cyclist visited last year?

BW: Yeah, I have some new Eddy Merckx jerseys that are turning up, a yellow from 1969. There will be some new bits for the show, too, like a Charly Gaul pink jersey from the Giro d’Italia. I’ll also have Tom Simpson’s bowler coming with me.

Cyc: What’s the best memorabilia you have away from cycling?

BW: I have a Steve Craddock guitar he gave me when I played on stage with Ocean Colour Scene at the Hammersmith Apollo. Yeah, he gave me that after the show. Still got that somewhere which is probably the stand out away from cycling.

Cyc: You are set to host a new comedy sports show called ‘Gods of the Game’ in 2020. Which TV presenter will you be taking inspiration from?

BW: Myself, more than anyone. It’s a comedy show which is nice, there is free reign to be myself like I was on the TV moto.

But I must say, I’ve grown up like certain comics like Mikey Flanagan so maybe that. I like Jonny Vaughn’s whacky, off-the-wall style but with a touch of Richard E Grant when he does the show about nice hotels [Richard E Grant's Hotel Secrets]. I love his casualness.

Cyc: As a huge sports fan, if you could swap your achievements with any other athlete, past or present, who would it be?

BW: I think I’d swap with Sir Steve Redgrave and do what he did with the rowing and the Olympics. I’ve always been fascinated by that sport and the aesthetics of rowing, how hard it is to row. Like the fascination of trying to make a bike move fast that I have, I have the same with a boat on the water.

Photo: Offside

Cyc: Have you ever been starstruck by another sportsperson?

BW: A few actually, yeah. About two months ago I met Paul Gascoigne. Kind of tragic at the same time but he was truly lovely. I was 10 when Italia 90 happened and I had the Gazzer haircut and I was football mad. Then in Euro 96 with the goal against Scotland and the dentist chair.

Cyc: Would you rather win the Challenge Cup with Wigan or Champions League with Liverpool?

BW: I would rather win the Champions League with Liverpool, definitely.

Cyc: Which footballer would make the best pro cyclist?

BW: James Milner. He has a down to earth mentality that would fit into Team Ineos’s mountain train in a heartbeat.

Cyc: Which cyclist from your career is most like a footballer?

BW: Christian Knees. I rode with him for many years at Team Sky. Like a Virgil Van Dijk at Liverpool, he was a man-mountain. He’d be a big German centre half who no one would have messed with.

Cyc: Talking of no-nonsense, which rider from your career did you fear the most?

BW: Mario Cipollini. Nobody messed with Cipo. He was quite scary as a kid, he ruled the peloton. If he said we’re not riding, we were not riding, nobody would dare attack him.

Photo: Offside

Cyc: Was he the biggest character from your career?

BW: There were a few characters actually. Jacky Durand was bonkers. Richard Virenque. Those two really stick out.

Cyc: UK Politics is in a way at the moment. Cycling has always been about politics, and who controls the peloton. Which rider from your career would be the best replacement for Boris Johnson?

BW: Michael Rogers, he is Australian but such an intelligent guy and would make a much better prime minister than Boris. Rogers is intelligent, entrepreneurial. He was just a gentleman as well he was very level headed, very broad-minded about situations.

Photo: Offside

Cyc: Odd Christian Eiking of Wanty-Gobert won 500kg of salmon for taking the KOM classification at the recent Arctic Race of Norway. What’s the strangest thing you ever won?

BW: I won a cow’s tongue in Belgium at a crit. It came in a packet of blood and it had been cut out of a cow and was considered a delicacy in the town in Belgium.

You’re supposed to eat it but we drove back that night to England, through the ferry, and opened the packet and all this blood poured out the back of the mouth.

So we just strapped it to the back of the saddle of a bike belonging to team mechanic Dan Gilchrist that was on the roof.

Cyc: Lastly, as you are in Ibiza, a pint of lager or a gin and tonic?

BW: G&T definitely. Quite like it with orange, few raspberries and a couple of coffee beans.

'An Evening with Bradley Wiggins' begins to tour the country from Friday 6th September at the Lincoln Engine Shed. For information on tickets, click here.