‘Wiggins should gear up for drastic changes’
Bradley Wiggins should be prepared for his life to be turned upside down after becoming the first British winner of the Tour de France, said four-time Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy.
Hoy knows how cycling success can bring overnight celebrity and warned his British Olympic team mate to expect drastic changes now he had ended the country's hoodoo in the event's 99th edition.
"In the cycling world already he is such a superstar, and he is used to receiving a lot of attention wherever he travels," Hoy told reporters in a conference call after being named as Britain's flag bearer for the London Olympics opening ceremony.
"I think in the UK is potentially where the real change will happen, when he is walking around the streets and he is out and about.
"I think his life will change drastically and I am sure he will deal with it incredibly well."
In an early pointer of what he can expect, the 32-year-old Wiggins was greeted by hoards of fans waving Union Jack flags around the Champs-Elysees as he finished among the main bunch in the Tour's climax on Sunday inParis.
"I have known Bradley since he was 16 and seen him go right through the ranks and then become a champion in every single facet of the sport that has he participated in," Hoy added.
"It is very easy to gloss over that (the Tour) is three weeks of competition and on any day something can go wrong and your dream is over.
"He managed to do three weeks of perfect racing in the toughest of conditions and it is amazing.
"We are still pinching ourselves here in the British cycling camp who are amazed at what he has achieved."
Wiggins took the plaudits for his triumph, but a second-place finish for countryman Chris Froome and a fourth consecutive final-stage victory for Mark Cavendish signalled Britain's dominance in the saddle.
Hard work in the mountain stages set Wiggins on the path to triumph and a penultimate time-trial stage confirmed his tremendous achievement.
Overall he spent 87 hours 34 minutes 47 seconds in the saddle during the Tour, covering a distance of 3,497 km.
Hoy, who said recently that a Wiggins Tour victory would be the greatest accomplishment by a British sportsman, hopes his success will have a legacy that goes beyond inspiring the next generation of cyclists.
"Cycling has received such a huge profile boost and if we can continue that with more success, cycling will become even more popular in the UK and we can get even more people on their bikes," Hoy said.
"That will be felt not just for future champions and future gold medallists, but also for the health of the nation, congestion and the environment.
"There are so many positive spin-offs from people cycling."
Wiggins will be competing at the London Olympics in both the road race, where he will be part of the British team looking to propel sprinter Mark Cavendish to victory, and the individual time trial where he will be targeting his fourth gold medal.