Bradley Wiggins the cycling champion from Kilburn wins the Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 Tour De France (Wiki Commons)
History was made yesterday, 22 July 2012, when Bradley Wiggins became the first Englishman to win the Tour de France and so become Kilburn’s most famous sportsman.
The sport is in his blood. His mother Linda Cozens met handsome Gary Wiggins, an Australian professional cyclist, at Paddington Recreation Ground. In 1976 they moved into a house in West End Lane and got married at St Augustine’s church in January 1979. They went to live in Ghent, a centre for cycling, where Bradley was born on 28 April 1980. Unfortunately, Gary had a drink and drugs problem, and was nicknamed ‘Doc’ on the circuit because he used and sold amphetamines. He dumped Linda, when Bradley was only two years old.
In December 1982 she returned to her family home in Kilburn and Bradley grew up in Dibdin House, on the edge of Kilburn and Maida Vale. Dibdin House is a large block of flats owned by the Church Commissioners and was built in 1937. (Gary later returned to Australia and in January 2008 was found beaten up, unconscious, and died soon after in hospital).
Dibdin House, 2012 (Dick Weindling)
Bradley, who went to St Augustine’s school, was keen on football but as he said, ‘cycling was in his blood’. Every Thursday he walked to WH Smith in Kilburn to buy a copy of ‘Cycling Weekly’. He cut out the pictures of his heroes and stuck them on the wall. As a shy 12 years old he regularly rode the eight miles to Herne Hill Velodrome and began track racing.
Main entrance to Dibdin House, 2012 (Dick Weindling)
Bradley married Catherine Cockram in 2004 and they have two children. He became world champion in 2003 and 2007; won two Olympic gold medals in 2008 and was awarded a CBE. But he suffered periods of self-doubt and was helped by fellow cyclist Chris Boardman and Steve Peters, the Team GB Cycling Psychiatrist, who said he sees Bradley as a tiger who he ‘feeds’, but who then disappears and only re-appears when he is ready. He was also mentored by head coach Shane Sutton and achieved great success on the track. But he wanted to race on the road and eventually joined the French team Cofidis. Angered by the 2007 doping revelations in the team, he left, saying he would never ride for them again.

In December 2009 Wiggins was persuaded to join the newly-formed British-based ‘Team Sky’ for a large fee. Performance analyst Tim Kerrison realised Bradley needed to up his training regime and they worked hard on the mountain climbing sections of the races. Things looked good in the 2011 Tour de France until Bradley crashed and broke his collarbone.

Bradley Wiggins (Wiki Commons)
Everything came right for the 2012 Tour and Bradley won the punishing three-week 2,172 mile race.
He left his team celebrating in Paris last night to return to the UK and start preparations for the London Olympics.

He won Gold in the Olympics and was Knighted in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour List in January 2013.

  • Fame by proxy! Great timing and interesting story, Dick. I can claim even a little bit more of a connection – before Kingsgate I too was at St Augustine’s for a year, so “I went to the same school as Bradley Wiggins”.
    Cheers

    Ray