British Cycling’s backup team have contacted Bradley Wiggins following the Tour de France winner’s “deeply concerning” allegations that he was sexually groomed by his coach when he was 13.
The sport’s governing body has also confirmed it has offered its full support to Wiggins after he revealed in an interview that he had ‘buried’ what happened to him because he had no one to go to. turn for help.
“We are deeply concerned by the issue raised by Sir Bradley Wiggins and our backup team contacted him today to offer him our full support,” a British Cycling spokesperson said.
“We encourage anyone who has experienced abuse or is concerned about the welfare of others – regardless of when the incident occurred – to utilize the support offered by both our trained team British Cycling and the NSPCC’s dedicated helpline, who in turn help us. to ensure that our sport is a safe and welcoming place for all.
Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour de France and eight Olympic medals in his career, told Men’s Health UK he received treatment when he was around 13 and “I never fully accepted that”.
When asked if he had been groomed sexually, he replied, “Yes. All of this affected me as an adult… I buried it.
Wiggins said he couldn’t talk to his stepdad because he beat him up: “My stepdad was quite violent with me, he used to call me a fag because I I was wearing lycra and all that, so I didn’t think I could tell him.”
The 41-year-old was also praised by the NSPCC for being brave enough to come forward. Michelle North, head of the charity’s child protection in sport unit, said: “It takes a lot of courage to speak out about sexual abuse and Sir Bradley Wiggins has shown real bravery by revealing how he was groomed as a young cyclist by his coach who should have protected him.
“Sports coaches wield a great deal of power and influence over the children in their care and can too easily exploit this trust to treat and abuse them.
“It is common for victims to feel guilt and shame or even be unaware that they are being abused and some may not come to terms with this for decades, but nonetheless the impact can be devastating and long lasting.”