Cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has said he was sexually groomed by a coach when he was a young teenager, recalling how he didn’t feel he could speak up at the time due to his difficult relationship with his stepfather.
Wiggins, 41, said the alleged abuse has ‘impacted’ his life as an adult, having ‘buried’ the trauma for a long time.
The three-time Olympic champion and 2012 Tour de France winner did not name the abuser.
Speaking to Men’s Health UK, Wiggins said: “I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that.”
Asked if he was groomed sexually, Wiggins explained: “Yes. 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.”
In the interview, which appears in the May issue of the magazine, Wiggins was asked what he had tried to run from in his life, having previously spoken about suffering from depression and a difficult childhood – having revealed his own father, cyclist Gary Wiggins, walked out on the family when he was little before dying 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 said.
"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…
“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 at lot of amphetamines and (sports) drugs back then.”
Wiggins said he is an 'introverted, private person', but was 'thrust into this fame' after winning the Tour de France and then winning gold at the Olympics.
But he has now found a way to help manage his mental health struggles, explaining how he needs 'routine'.
“Training every day, it’s important," the cyclist said.
"Not drinking too much… with my depression, if I’m not looking after myself it manifests more like a mania.
“I always thought of depression as taking you to a dark room in a stoop. I try to be funnier and end up being shocking and contentious.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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