Bradley Wiggins says that the Olympics has brought out a more open and honest side of cyclists.
And, speaking on the latest Bradley Wiggins Show podcast, he revealed that he wanted to give former team-mate Geraint Thomas a hug watching the Welshman’s interview after crashing out of the Olympic road race.
“When you watched him in that vulnerable state afterwards, talking about getting home back to his family, back to Sarah… it was lovely, it really was,” Wiggins said.
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He was quite reflective, G. Not necessarily feeling sorry for himself, but he was kind of questioning himself ‘why always me?’.
“But straight away he was focussed on the next thing, and he does pick himself up G, time and time again, which is what makes him a great athlete.
“It’s great to hear all these interviews, so open and honest. It’s the Olympics, it brings out a different side to people.”
Thomas suffered a nasty crash during the Tour de France earlier this summer, forcing him out of contention for his first main target of 2021.
And the 35-year-old was involved in another accident in the Olympic Road Race in Japan, crashing along with British team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart before withdrawing from the race. And his injuries ultimately forced him out of contention for time trial medals later in the week.
“It’s disappointing, after the Tour and everything, I was really motivated to try and get something here,” Thomas, who has won two Olympic golds on the track but no medals on the road, said.
“So for that to happen, I was just sat on the floor thinking ‘why, what have I done in a previous life’ you know.
“There’s been so much time away from home and all the sacrifices you make.
There’s been an 11-week block where I only saw my son, and my wife, for four days. That’s a lot of commitment.
“And then there’s the diet and everything – let’s face it, I don’t enjoy eating rice and chicken and missing out on all the social occasions back home and a few normal beers with everyone. It’s just been tough mentally.
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“It’s tough, it’s not that I’ve had a bad season you know, I’ve been up there on the podium a few times, but the main two targets, what you dream about, they are the ones that have ended up on the floor.
“So it is tough, but it’s part of the sport, like life in general as well: you don’t always get what you deserve, you just need to keep trying.
“It’s just after the Tour and the way that went, I was just thinking “what is going on, why”. But as I say, that’s how it goes sometimes.”
The conversation around mental health has been a major talking point of the Tokyo Games, and Wiggins says that it has been a big and important factor in the first week of cycling action in Japan.
“We’ve seen it with Rohan Dennis, we saw it with Tom Dumoulin, with the two refugees we saw today – which really does give perspective,” Wiggins said.
“When we were at the mountain bike we saw it with Jolanda Neff who won and two years ago she was on her death bed after having a really bad accident. And you see what it means to them.
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“This is almost like a life thing for them. It’s not just about winning gold, it’s about a journey they’ve been on.
“I’m noticing that more and more – I don’t whether that rhetoric has always been there or I’m just noticing it for the first time being on this side of the fence.”
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