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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Wiggins prolongs Olympic honeymoon
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport

Bradley Wiggins with his Olympic gold medal
I've had a good time - drinking beer and living a normal life
Bradley Wiggins
Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins has warned cycling fans not to expect too much when he returns to the track in the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday.

Wiggins has been caught up in a whirl of victory parades, charity appearances and good old-fashioned celebrating since he won gold, silver and bronze medals in Athens.

He has also been preparing for his wedding to fiancee Catherine in two weeks' time, and for the birth of their first child in April.

So it comes as no surprise that the 24-year-old has hardly been near a bike since he raced in the five-day Tour of Britain in early September.

Wiggins, who took part in the Parade of Heroes through central London and met the Queen on Monday, admits he is still coming to terms with life as an Olympic champion.

"It's only now I'm starting to realise what it all meant," he told the BBC Sport website.

"There are constant phonecalls asking you to do lots of things. It's quite difficult to juggle everything and please everyone, but I'm not complaining.

"I've had a good time the last couple of months, enjoying the fact it's all over. I've been drinking beer and living a normal life.

"I did a fair bit of partying after the Games but I wasn't out on the town all night because Cath had just got pregnant.

"But in the comfort of my own home, with my parents and father-in-law and other friends, we spent many an evening drinking the night away.

"I've become a bit of a local hero in my adopted town of Wigan. I got to go out on the pitch at Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors, and at Manchester United the other week."

I'll probably never feel that kind of emotion again
Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins became Britain's most successful Olympian at a single Games for 40 years when he won individual pursuit gold, team pursuit silver and Madison bronze in Athens.

But he admits he was in turmoil in the build-up to the Games.

"The closest I can describe it - I've read a lot of books about the world wars - is how soldiers described how they felt when they were going into the trenches," he said.

"I don't know if that is overdramatising it, because it is only sport at the end of the day and you don't have to go through anything like what they went through in the war.

"But in terms of a feeling it sort of nailed it on the head for me. I was going out there and doing it for the millions of people back home.

"You look back and you think 'it's only bloody sport, what does it matter'. But at the time it's the biggest thing in your life and that's why it consumes it so much."

Wiggins said hearing he was going to become a father, just two days before his first event, gave him the spur he needed.

"The hardest part about any competition at that level is always the days preceding the event," he said.

"The doubts and the nerves start hitting you, like a constant rollercoaster of feeling.

"Once Cath told me [she was pregnant], it took me to another level of confidence because I was doing it for my whole family. It gave me a tremendous boost.

"It was the only competition I've ever been at where I've been close to tears before every race. I'll probably never feel that kind of emotion again."

Wiggins' biggest dilemma now will be to decide what his future holds.

He intends to defend his title at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, but is unsure whether to pursue a career in road racing as a time-trial specialist.

Either way, Wiggins knows that he should be financially secure for life.

"People are throwing money at you to do things - 'can you come and stand here for a day, can you come and do this?" he said.

"It makes life a lot easier. It's not the motivation to win Olympic gold, but it's in the back of your mind.

"That was part of my motivation because you are securing other people's futures - ones who are not even born."




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