Bradley Wiggins has alleged he was sexually groomed by a coach when he was 13 years old.
The 41-year-old says he “buried” the incident and was unable to turn to his abusive stepfather at the time for help.
“I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that,” Wiggins told Men’s Health UK magazine. “Yes,” Wiggins said when asked if he was groomed sexually. “It all impacted me as an adult…I buried it.”
“My stepfather was quite violent to me, he used to call me a f****t for wearing Lycra and stuff, so I didn’t think I could tell him. I was such a loner. I just wanted to get out of the environment. I became so insular. I was quite a strange teenager in many ways, and I think the drive on the bike stemmed from adversity.”
Wiggins has spoken out before about suffering from depression and having a difficult childhood, saying previously: “With my depression, if I’m not looking after myself, it manifests more like a mania. I try to be funnier and end up being shocking and contentious.”
In the Men’s Health UK interview conducted by Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alasdair Campbell, Wiggins explains that some of his mental health issues stem from his complicated relationship with his father. Australian cyclist Gary Wiggins walked out on the family when he was young before being reconciled with Bradley when his son was in Australia for a training camp. Gary Wiggins was murdered in 2008 following a fight at a house party.
“It was definitely to do with my dad. Never getting answers when he was murdered in 2008. He left us when I was little, so I met him for the first time when I was 18. We rekindled some kind of relationship, but then we didn’t speak for the last couple of years before he was murdered,” Wiggins said.
“He was my hero. I wanted to prove myself to him. He was a good cyclist – he could have been really good – but he was a wasted talent. He was an alcoholic, a manic depressive, quite violent, and he took a lot of amphetamines and drugs back then.”