Wiggins settling back to life in leafy Lancs

Bradley Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins
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To his children he is dad but to the rest of the world he now known simply as Wiggo, the owner of the most famous pair of sideburns around.

But Bradley Wiggins has admitted that he is now so famous he cannot go to the supermarket near his Chorley home without being mobbed by the adoring public.

Over the past month the 32 year old has become a national icon after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France and, just a week or so later, winning his fourth Olympic gold.

He is the red hot favourite to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year and there have been calls for the Eccleston-based star to be knighted.

He says that fame carries with it a heavy price. He said: “I can’t go shopping at Tesco in Euxton without people asking me for a photo or autograph.

“I left home on June 22 nobody really knew who I was locally apart from a couple of people.

“This overwhelming adulation bares no comparison to anything I have ever had before.

“It was fantastic and brilliant and it was bizarre that the media was queuing up at the bottom of my lane when I won the Tour de France.

“A lot changed – we couldn’t even go for a pizza any more.

“It was difficult trying to integrate back into what you normally do, always being watched. ‘Sorry to disturb your dinner, can I just have a 
photo?’ – it’s difficult.

“I think the kids struggled. They just wanted to see me. They hadn’t seen me for the best part of seven months. We tried to go to Mallorca last week and have a quiet glass of wine on a brick wall and I got photographed there as well.

“I hadn’t comprehended that everything you do, somebody is watching.”

It has been reported that Chorley councillors are exploring the possibility of granting him the freedom of the borough and he has been promised gifts by local traders.

He said: “As far as support of the local community it is great.

“This was my fourth gold medal win and it seemed that every time I won I came back unrecognised. This Olympic Games has attracted the community and they latched on to it. I find it overwhelming and we have become somewhat of national heroes.

“I have met different people who I would only dream of meeting and it will never go back to how it was before.”

Now, Wiggins is planning for the future and his foundation is one way of doing that.

Already he has funded a Under-Seven rugby league team as well as amateur cyclists with the potential to go further.

He said: “It is really important for me to be able to put something back into sport and the Bradley Wiggins Foundation will become my way of inspiring and helping others to achieve their best.”

For information about the scheme check out www.bradleywigginsfoundation.org.uk.