Published: 20 July 2012
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Chris Hoy believes a Tour de France victory from Bradley Wiggins would be ‘one of the greatest achievements by a British sportsman ever’.
Wiggins, like Hoy an Olympic champion and member of British Cycling, is on the verge of becoming the first British rider to win the cycling’s most illustrious event.
After victories in the Tour de Romandie, Paris-Nice and Criterium de Dauphine this year, the 32-year-old three-time Olympic champion leads the race ahead of fellow British cyclist Chris Froome.
Hoy, who will ride the kierin and team sprint at the London Olympic Games, admits that seeing Wiggins has been inspiring and hopes with the Olympics, will inspire more people get out and enjoy cycling.
He said: "I have to pinch myself when I switch on the TV and I see Bradley in the yellow jersey and going well on the mountain stages.
"If he makes it to the finishing line in Paris it will be one of the greatest achievements by a British sportsman ever, it's phenomenal. When you break it down and look at what it takes to win the Tour; it's not just one day, it's not just having several purple patches.
"It inspires me and it's an amazing story for the sport. You can see it's everywhere in the general media and it can only be good for the sport.
"Hopefully all the benefits of all the Olympic exposure for cycling and the Tour de France and what Mark Cavendish has done over the last few years, will encourage people to get out on their bikes."
Hoy, who starts his Olympic track campaign on 2 August 2012, credited Wiggins for his performance and temperament during the race so far.
"It's about dealing with all these things to put yourself in a physical state to be able to win it, and then to deal with all the other things that are out of your control.
"Things like crashes, punctures, illness, injury, people conspiring against you. There are all these things that can happen to prevent you from winning the tour. It's not just a good day, or a couple of good days in a row - it's three weeks.
"I may be a bit biased because he is an old team-mate and he is a great guy and what he has done is amazing. But if he gets to that finish line it will be as good as anything any British athlete has ever done."