Tour de France: What makes Bradley the best Brit on two wheels?

Bradley Wiggins has already made history as the most successful British contender in the history of the Tour de France. Riding this weekend wearing the coveted yellow jersey, Wiggins has been at pains to scotch insinuations that his amazing performance is fuelled by perfomance-enhancing drugs. Here we explain just what makes him the Best Brit on the Tour.

Stamina

Thin-framed, at 6ft 3in tall and 69kg, Wiggins has always been a strong sprint performer. He has improved his chances in Le Tour by building his stamina with 100,000 metres of uphill climbing, mainly on Mount Teide in Tenerife. He makes sure his body is resilient by avoiding building up muscle bulk, and strengthening his core with Pilates, yoga and exercise balls.

Mentality

A mantra using such words as "cool" and "calm" allows him to focus on what he describes as "keeping the chimp in the cage". This chimp, he says, is your emotional side, "and in a pressure situation you have to react with logic, not emotion". He told a sports magazine: "You can practise something a million times but when it comes to the crunch you need to transform into a ruthless robot or you'll choke..." The British Olympic medal winner is "able to absorb pressure moments without becoming overwhelmed", says Dr Victor Thompson, a cycling psychologist.

Diet

During Le Tour, Wiggins consumes around 7,000 calories a day through a diet of pasta, omelettes and croissants, oat and honey energy bars: he burns around 8,000 calories daily, though. He recommends a bowl of porridge before bed to give the body fuel to repair while asleep. During races he has an average power output of 442 watts and aims to take on 50 grams of protein in the 30 minutes after training. He does not touch alcohol in the weeks leading up to a race.

Motivation

With three Olympic gold medals, Wiggins has experience of championship success and craves more, which gives him an edge, say psychologists. His sporting hero is the football player Bobby Moore. But he is currently motivated by seeing Australian Cadel Evans go on to win the Tour de France after Wiggins crashed out injured. "In the 2010 Tour, I just hadn't done enough work," Wiggins said. "I wasn't fit enough and I hadn't worked hard enough. But last year Cadel set the benchmark for how we want to win." His philosophy is "put 100 per cent into everything".

Physique

Given his slight build, Wiggins has disproportionately powerful legs. "The veins on his legs are like the branches of trees [they are also] thin and evenly spread," says cycling psychologist Dr Victor Thompson. This gives him faster recovery times, particularly after steep climbs. His body-fat levels are one of the lowest of all international cyclists which makes him light in the saddle but able to pedal with real power.

Team

BSkyB has spent £30m on sponsorship. Despite an apparently unscheduled breakaway move by Wiggins's heir-apparent, Chris Froome, last week, the team is hand-picked to bolster the gold medal winner and ward off rivals. Key players include: Froome, Michael Rogers – effectively road captain, Richie Porte, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Mark Cavendish – who kept up tempo in the early stages and will push for sprint victories in the final week.

Training

He has done the same warm-up for the past 10 years: seven minutes working at 60 per cent of maximum heart rate (which is 188 beats a minute); then eight minutes at 85 per cent; five minutes of six- to 10-second sprints pushing the heart rate to 95 per cent with 20-second recoveries in between. In the weeks leading up to a competition, he spends five to seven hours on a bike each day.

Bike

Wiggins is riding a Pinarello Dogma 2, £10,000 of carbon-fibre machine weighing in at seven kilos and with a top speed of around 63mph. The carbon frames are handmade in Treviso, Italy. Each of the 24 riders in Team Sky has two road bikes, personalised to fit their body measurements. Even the ball bearings in Wiggins's bike have been weighed, only the lightest are used.

News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'