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'Whether people like it or not he’s iconic' Wiggins comments on Armstrong

Joe Robinson
18 Oct 2018

Wiggins also believes the American has been singled out for his doping past

Bradley Wiggins has stated that 'whether people like it or not' Lance Armstrong will remain an iconic figure in cycling for both good and bad reasons. Britain's first Tour de France winner also commented that he believes the divisive American has been 'singled out' regarding cycling's doping past.

In an interview with host Jim White on talkSport radio, Wiggins commented that there was a line between Armstrong being an icon and an iconic figure.

'I’m not saying he’s an icon. Whether people like it or not he’s iconic in some way, good or bad,' said Wiggins, adding 'For me, I can’t change the way he made me feel when I was 13. It changed my life.'

This echoes comments that Wiggins also told Cyclist in a recent exclusive interview in which he commented on his childhood memories of Armstrong. 

'Between 1993 and 2010, Armstrong won so much and I wasn’t sitting there as a teen thinking “Is this guy cheating?"' Wiggins told Cyclist.

'I will never forget the guy who didn’t give a shit, jumping the likes of Miguel Indurain and Johann Museeuw to the World Championship title.

'These memories will not be taken away from me.’

Wiggins is soon to release a book, 'Icons', which includes a chapter dedicated to jerseys he has collected from Armstrong, a rider that he watched for much of his youth, something he also discussed on talkSport.

'When I was 13 and I was living on a council estate in London, he won the world title in Oslo when he was 21 years of age, and I was enthralled by it. I went out on my bike the next day and I thought I was Lance Armstrong,' Wiggins told talkSport.

'I went as far as I could go before I realised I'd better turn round before it got dark. Nobody can ever take that away from me, that feeling of freedom and going out on the bike and being inspired by him.'

Wiggins then went on to state that the Texan had 'paid the price heavily for what he has done but he wasn't alone' as the sport suffered from its doping past.

Armstrong has effectively become the 'poster boy' for doping in cycling having famously been stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles, from 1999 to 2005, before then confessing to the systematic taking of performance-enhancing substances throughout his time at the US Postal Service team.

Now 47-years-old, Armstong has begun a slow return to the sport primarily through his podcasts, The Move and Stages, which discuss current professional cycling.

As for Wiggins, who experienced his own now-closed anti-doping investigation into the use of corticosteroids under Therapeutic Use Exemptions, he has slowly reintroduced himself into the public eye with appearances on talkSport, his self-named podcast on Eurosport and the upcoming launch of his new book. 

With this, Wiggins also believes he can start to express his own, true opinions again.

'I say what I think now, I don't have key messages, I don't have an agenda-led cycling team to keep happy, I haven't got a team of PR people around me going "ooh you don't want to say that because it's going to look bad",' said Wiggins.

'I ain't gotta come out of the bus at the next race and face a line of journalists saying "you know what you said last week about this - can we just pick up on that?", two minutes before you're about to start a race. So I don't care anymore about that.'

Wiggins recently gave Cyclist an exclusive look at his extensive cycling memorabilia collection that will appear in Issue 81 of Cyclist Magazine, on shelves from Wednesday 7th November, or you can subscribe here