CHARLES GRAHAM - Delighted to claim Wiggo as our own

Bradley Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins
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THE complex lineage of Bradley Wiggins means that several places can lay claim to him.

Ghent in Belgium was his place of birth, he was raised in London and latterly has lived in Eccleston, Chorley.

But he is also married to a Shevington lass - Catherine - owns a home here, has close links with the Wigan Wheelers cycling club, is a Warriors season ticket holder and during recent interviews has repeatedly called himself a Wiganer.

In the process he said that most folk would not recognise him here (unlike cycling stars in France who are treated like A-listers). I think that is changing now and I hope it doesn’t put him off.

For all the British cycling team’s achievements over the last six years ago in successive world and Olympic championships, there has always been a burning question: if we can win all these track medals, why can’t we do anything in the Tour de France?

The Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish began to change all that with his sprint finish stage wins but it has taken adopted Wiganer Wiggins to do what no other British man has done before and really put cycling on the map.

His victory parade down the Champs-Elysees was something truly special to behold and makes you realise the sheer magnitude of what has been achieved. Remember this was Britain’s 109th attempt at winning the ultimate cycling challenge.

Sir Chris Hoy said that Wiggins’s victory is the greatest sporting achievement by someone from our country ever.

I’m not sure how you can say that. After all how do you compare him favourably or negatively against giants of such contrasting disciplines as Bobby Charlton, Steve Redgrave, Fred Perry or Jack Hobbs even if he has made the transition from track to road?

But this historic win certainly allows him into such illustrious company and we Wiganers will happily claim him as one of ours.