Cycling superstar set to pedal through area

Bradley Wiggins, recent Tour de France winner and Olympic Gold Medalist, arriving at Wray in Lancashire, UK, on his inaugural Ride with Brad Sportive in aid of the Bradley Wiggins Foundation on Sunday 19th August 2012.
Bradley Wiggins, recent Tour de France winner and Olympic Gold Medalist, arriving at Wray in Lancashire, UK, on his inaugural Ride with Brad Sportive in aid of the Bradley Wiggins Foundation on Sunday 19th August 2012.

Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins will be competing in cycling’s Tour of Britain – which is heading right through Belper’s villages.

The News told at the beginning of August how speculation was mounting that the Olympic Time Trial gold medallist would be taking part in the event – which travels through Duffield, Little Eaton, Turnditch and Smalley on September 10.

And this week during the inaugural “Ride with Brad” mass participation public cycling event in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, the athlete confirmed the rumours were true.

He said: “I’m doing the Tour of Britain now.

“It’ll be nice. I’ll try to stay fit between now and then so I don’t embarrass myself! It’ll be good.”

Wiggins will arive in Smalley sometime after 10.30am on the day of the event, leading Team Sky – other members of which include top sprinter Mark Cavendish and time trial bronze medallist and Tour de France runner-up Chris Froome.

More than 100 of the world’s top athletes will be competing in total as part of the UK’s largest free to watch sporting event.

The eight-stage Tour of Britain could effectively provide Wiggins with a personal lap of honour, with cycling enjoying a boom and huge crowds likely to greet him around the country.

Wiggins has won seven Olympic medals, including four gold, the joint most of any British Olympian and the third most gold medals by a British Olympian, behind Chris Hoy and Steve Redgrave.

The 32-year-old has been given extra time off by Team Sky following his hugely successful summer to prepare for the event and is not participating in the Tour of Denmark next week.

His return to competitive action is now set for the Tour of Britain which begins in Ipswich on September 9.

His appearance was confirmed as various sporting events are being held across Belper as part of the legacy of the Games.

Scores of people in Belper are thought to be becoming more active in the wake of London 2012 and now the Join In campaign, which brings sport to local communities, is to build on that momentum this weekend.

At Nealies Sporting Ground in Milford on Saturday August 25, Derbyshire Archery Club are holding a free archery day. Meanwhile, a River Derwent Open Water Swim Series was held at Cromford last weekend.

Belper man Ian Jackson has been promoting the events as part of his work as a Games volunteer which saw him helping out at Wembley Stadium during London 2012.

He said: “We don’t want the impact of the Games to fizzle out and we really hope these events will keep the momentum going.

“There may be other groups that want to get involved by getting in touch with the Join In campaign and doing something locally.

“I have never seen or felt anything like what I experienced during Games – it was such a positive atmosphere. If we can bring a little bit of that back to Belper it must be a good thing.”