Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have both aimed stinging criticism at British Cycling, the sport’s national governing body, in a Q&A session on Instagram.
In Sunday’s broadcast, the now-retired 2012 Tour de France champion Wiggins and Cavendish, who has won 30 stages at the Tour and rides for Bahrain–McLaren, discussed the Manxman’s non-selection for the postponed Tokyo Olympics. Cavendish hoped to compete in the Madison in Japan and win the Olympic gold medal that has so far eluded him but he was not selected by British Cycling.
In a report by cyclingnews.com, Cavendish was quoted: “It’s hard for me to go. British Cycling have been … they realised now they don’t want to be in the position where they have to not take me. They said to me: ‘You haven’t done any World Cups’. When have I had to do World Cups?”
Wiggins replied: “That’s the thing that’s lacking now in British Cycling: someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. It’s all about box ticking. With you it was just a case of opening a few doors so you could get qualified, knowing you would deliver on the day, which you do and always did – three world titles, Olympic medal and all that.
“That’s sort of been taken away now. They’d rather someone qualified for all the World Cups, then finished 10th in the Olympics. I think it’s shit, to be honest, but hey, cycling has changed so much,” Wiggins added.
The pair went on to discuss how British Cycling had asked for the return of equipment – bikes and skin suits – with which they competed at previous Olympics. Wiggins said of his bike from the 2012 time trial: “They didn’t have a choice with me. I’m fucking taking it, it’s mine, I fucking did it, I’m having it.”
Cavendish adds: “I’ve still got a skinsuit, but they took the skinsuits back. What are we going to do? Show it off to people and say ‘copy this’?” Wiggins added: “I’ve still got my skinsuit as well. They’re not having it. Fuck off. Try and get it from me. They try and take it back and it’s like, well, we did it, we grafted … These are my memories.”
The pair have broadcast regular informal chats on Instagram in recent months, discussing their careers, the wider sport and taking questions from fans and fellow cyclists. Wiggins and Team Sky (now Team Ineos) have been embroiled in controversy since the Fancy Bears leaks in 2016 relating to therapeutic use exemptions during his career. A parliamentary report concluded an ethical line had been crossed, but Wiggins and the team have denied wrongdoing.