Published: 01 August 2012
Article: ‘Wiggins effect’ and future Tour proposals to engage more people in cycling
Following Bradley Wiggins’ historic victory in the Tour de France last month and his Time Trial gold medal today; the governing body for cycling has heralded the potential impact on developing the sport as work continues on a proposal to bring the Tour back to Britain in the coming years. British Cycling has spoken about the likely effect of Britain boasting a Yellow Jersey winner and Olympic medallists, with current and future riders sure to be inspired by events over the past three weeks.
A proposal is currently being developed by EventScotland with the aim of bringing the Tour back to Britain for the prologue, Grand Depart and up to three further stages. Having the Tour de France run through the spine of Britain would allow an unprecedented number of people to engage with the event through the country’s towns and cities, which would lay the foundations for a long-lasting and widespread legacy for the sport.
Team Sky’s Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour, and bringing the world’s most famous cycling race back to Great Britain would not only be a wonderful legacy of his achievement; but would also provide the focal point for encouraging participation at all levels, which would build on the excellent work already being delivered by British Cycling.
Today in the Olympic Time Trial, Wiggins and fellow Team Sky rider Chris Froome took gold and bronze in the men’s event with Wiggins becoming Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian. The Tour winner collected his seventh medal after Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley finished 10th and 6th respectively in the women’s event earlier today. On the first day of competition at the Games, the men’s road race team put in a brave and battling performance, before Armitstead won Team GB’s first medal when she claimed silver in the Road Race on Sunday.
Brian Cookson OBE, President of British Cycling said: “We are all very proud of the achievements of Bradley Wiggins and the rest of Team Sky at the Tour de France this year and are fully supportive of the concept of bringing the event to Great Britain over the coming years. This has been boosted by the fantastic performances of Wiggins and Team GB in London, to cap off an unprecedented period of success for British road cycling. We have seen the positive impact that hosting major cycling events in this country has made to participation levels and are convinced that a Tour which spans the length of the country would provide a massive boost to our ambition of getting as many people riding bikes as possible.”
Alasdair MacLennan, President of Scottish Cycling, The national governing body for cycling in Scotland added”: “Bradley has for a long time now been an iconic role model in the cycling world but his achievements are now being lauded across the sporting landscape within GB. I am certain that his Tour de France victory, followed by his gold medal today; and the performances of Lizzie Armitstead, Chris Froome and Team GB at the Olympics will prove to be the catalyst for a huge increase in participation in all forms of cycling.”
Tom Arnstein, a Scottish Cycling Junior Development Rider said: “In the last few weeks we have had a British Rider win the Tour de France, have had 4 stage wins and with one of them a Scot it’s so inspirational. It’s a fantastic achievement for cycling in Britain and it has definitely inspired me to work hard on the Scottish Development programme to reach their level. It really drives home that international events are achievable for British Riders and with increased coverage on TV and more people talking about cycling it’s a great sport to be involved with!”
British Cycling has recently seen its 50,000th member sign up during what is undoubtedly the greatest ever summer for the sport in Britain. At elite level, cycling continues to go from strength to strength, with Team Sky in particular now home to household names like Wiggins and 2011 Tour Green Jersey winner Mark Cavendish. Both riders along with team-mate Chris Froome and Garmin-Sharp rider David Millar are the four British stage winners from the Tour this year showing the strength in depth of the sport.