Cycling: Wiggins criticises Olympic tickets 'shambles' and 'unsafe' Boris bikes
Friday 24 June 2011
On the day Bradley Wiggins was named along with fellow Britons Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift in Team Sky's line-up for the Tour de France, the 31-year-old skidded off-message with an attack on the "dangerous Boris bikes" scheme introduced in London.
Rather than trumpeting his and Team Sky's chances in their second Tour, which starts on 2 July, Wiggins also criticised the 2012 Olympics ticketing process that has left many people empty-handed.
Wiggins, who grew up in London, is no fan of the bicycle public rental scheme introduced by mayor Boris Johnson. "[It's] very dangerous," he said. "Most of the people that ride around London don't wear helmets and can't even ride a bike, which just creates more danger on the roads and obviously drivers get frustrated with them, people riding along with iPods on these Boris Bikes with no helmets.
"I think it's a disaster waiting to happen, personally, but what do I know?"
Wiggins also directed his ire at the "shambles" of an Olympic ticketing process during which he has been luckless. "It's a shame really, isn't it? Coming from London and growing up in London you'd always sort of imagine that your family would be able to watch you in the velodrome, win a gold medal. Obviously that's not to be at the moment.
"So it is a shame and I'm now looking at maybe doing the individual road time trial just so they can poke their heads over the barriers and watch, because that's free of course.
"We're just the athletes. I think we're low down the list in the whole thing. I think the whole corporate thing is probably obviously what pays for the Olympics and I think that's where most of it has gone."
Back to the matter in hand, Wiggins, fourth in 2009 and 24th last year, will start the Tour in the Vendée region of western France on the back of the biggest win of his road career at this month's Dauphiné Libéré. Thomas excelled in the 2010 Tour and was always likely to be selected, with Swift's inclusion for his debut coming after five wins this season.
The Team Sky principal, Dave Brailsford, said of the 23-year-old Rotherham rider: "I am delighted that Ben Swift will be making his Tour debut. He is enjoying a breakthrough season with five wins already and he will absolutely thrive on this opportunity to test himself on the biggest stage of all."
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