Sir Bradley’s family woes

Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Sir Bradley Wiggins.

SIR Bradley Wiggins has spoken candidly about how his nappies were used for drug smuggling - by his father.

The Olympic cyclist, whose wife Catherine, hails from Shevington, told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs that the fact his late father, Gary, was not there for much of his childhood was a key factor in him becoming a professional cyclist.

Mum was a strong woman and wanted me to pursue my dreams

Bradley Wiggins

Gary Wiggins was an Australian professional cyclist who moved to Europe in the 1970s, but he returned to his home country after splitting from Bradley’s mother, Linda, when he was two.

The former Team Sky rider said: “If he had stayed around through my teenage years I wouldn’t have been a cyclist because he would have been so hard and so critical of me. I would have packed it in and gone and done something else.”

Wiggo discussed his dad’s involvement with drugs, which he confirms included smuggling amphetamines in his nappies. He said: “He did a bit of everything. In those days it was amphetamines and speed. His nickname was Doc. He was a user and used to sell. My mum’s got some great stories about the people who, when I was a baby, came through our apartment door to buy stuff off my dad. These people are now beating the drum saying ‘I didn’t do anything’, which is funny.”

In his father’s absence, it was his mum who supported his career, getting into £500,000 worth of debt for him, saying: “She was quite a strong woman and I think she just lived for me from that moment on really. She wanted me to pursue my dreams.”

Sir Bradley added that despite his Olympic success in Athens in 2004, he struggled to pay the bills.

He said: “I thought there’d be people banging down the door with cheques for millions of pounds. I was Olympic champion but couldn’t pay the mortgage. I had this incredible guilt that I was Olympic champion but couldn’t pay the bills. I got a bit depressed about the whole thing. It did not live up to the impression of what I thought Olympic gold was all going to be about. That was August. As soon as my son was born in March, I felt like I had to provide for this person and it brought back the memories of what happened with my own father.”