British Cycling’s safeguarding team has reached out to 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 also confirmed it had offered Wiggins its full support after he revealed in an interview that he had “buried” what happened to him because he had no one to turn to for help.
“We are deeply concerned about the issue raised by Sir Bradley Wiggins and our safeguarding team has made contact with him today to offer our full support,” a British Cycling spokesperson said.
“We would encourage anybody who has suffered abuse or has concerns about the welfare of others – regardless of when the incident took place – to utilize the support offered both by our trained team at British Cycling and the dedicated NSPCC Helpline, which in turn helps us to ensure that our sport is a safe and welcoming place for all. ”
Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour de France and won eight Olympic medals during his career, told Men’s Health UK that he had been groomed when he was about 13 and “I never fully accepted that”.
Asked if he was sexually groomed, Wiggins added: “Yes. It all impacted me as an adult… I buried it. ”
Wiggins said that he had been unable to speak to his stepfather as he beat him: “My stepfather was quite violent to me, he used to call me a fagot for wearing Lycra and stuff, 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 sports unit, said: “It takes a lot of courage to speak out about sexual abuse and Sir Bradley Wiggins has shown real bravery in revealing how he was groomed as a young cyclist by his coach who should have been protecting him.
“Sports coaches hold a great deal of power and influence over the children in their care and can all too easily exploit this trust to groom and abuse them.
“It’s common for victims to feel guilt and shame or even be unaware that they are being abused and some may not come to accept it until decades later but nonetheless the impact can be devastating and long lasting.”