New Year Honours: Playing guitar with hero Weller was top honour, says Wiggins

09:50 29 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins celebrates his Olympic gold medal. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Bradley Wiggins celebrates his Olympic gold medal. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

PA Wire

VIDEO: A spectacular 2012 was brought to a fitting conclusion for Bradley Wiggins when he received a knighthood in the New Year Honours - but nothing compared to being on stage with his hero Paul Weller.

Highlights of the 32-year-old’s year have included being the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and winning his fourth Olympic gold medal, while earlier this month he was the runaway winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The self proclaimed ‘kid from Kilburn’ is almost as famous for his love of mod culture as he is for his exploits on two wheels, with spectators at the Olympic time trial donning fake sideburns in his honour.

Last week he joined Weller to perform The Jam classic ‘That’s Entertainment’ during a charity concert at Hammersmith Apollo.

And asked for his highlight of 2012, Wiggins said: “For me it’s probably the obvious one, apart from Sports Personality, playing at Hammersmith Apollo with Paul Weller last Wednesday was incredible.

“That topped it for me, and that’s not a joke. It was amazing. Playing a Jam song as well, I mean how many people get to do that?”

The irreverent personality that has captured the public’s imagination perhaps sits oddly with a knighthood, awarded for services to cycling, but Wiggins believes it sends a good message in the age of celebrity culture.

He said: “It’s quite something really. I never imagined that I would ever become a knight so it’s an incredible honour but there’s a slight element of disbelief, and it will take a while to sink in.

“There was never any doubt whether I’d accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a Sir, and I probably never will.

“I don’t like profiting from status so it’s more for my family. It’s nice for my parents and grandparents to be able to say I’m a knight, and for my kids in the future.

“To be deemed good enough to have a knighthood by the establishment is quite nice really, because I’ve continued to be myself through most of the fame.

“Not all of it’s been good, a couple of swear words and things, so it’s nice to be able to receive this after everything, it shows you don’t have to have a stiff upper lip and say all the right things all the time.

“It’s a nice advertisement for our culture I think because so much of it is based on being something you’re not with celebrity, so it’s reassuring in a way.”

Wiggins had been widely tipped to receive the honour after his superb achievements this year, but he admitted he thought he may have missed out as time ticked by before he finally received notification two weeks ago.

“I was in Spain on a training camp so it came quite late,” he said. “I actually thought, early December, you normally hear by now, so I thought maybe it wasn’t going to happen this time so when it finally did come I thought, ‘Blimey’.”

Wiggins admitted he initially struggled for motivation as he thought about trying to follow 2012, but he has thrown himself back into training and is planning to ride both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in 2013.

There is still uncertainty about whether he will bid to defend his Tour crown or support team-mate Chris Froome, who finished second this year.

Wiggins said: “It’s about setting new goals and going out and doing something else. It might not top it, it might not ever top it, but you have to go back to work at some point.

“Initially motivation was an issue but you actually crave going back to that routine and that structure. I really enjoyed being in camp again with the team and going back to what got you there in the first place. There are things I still want to do within the sport.

“I’m doing the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France as a new challenge, and that’s very much what we’re training for at the moment.

“The priority is the Tour of Italy and then we go to the Tour and it could be in a support role to Chris Froome, it could be both of us, it could be me again, it really depends on how the season pans out, on results and form and even whether both of us make it to the Tour.”

Looking further into the future, Wiggins has his sights set on an Olympic swansong in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where he hopes to return to the track.

“I’d love to go to Rio,” he added. “That would be an incredible way to finish it all with a fifth gold medal, and I would like it to be back on the track in the team pursuit where it all started in Sydney for me.”

LIST OF OLYMPIC ATHLETES IN NEW YEAR HONOURS

KNIGHTHOOD

Ben Ainslie - sailing

Bradley Wiggins - cycling

CBE

Katherine Grainger - rowing

Jessica Ennis - athletics

Mo Farah - athletics

Victoria Pendleton - cycling

OBE

Charlotte Dujardin - equestrian

Jason Kenny - cycling

Andy Murray - tennis

Laura Trott - cycling

MBE

Nicola Adams - boxing

Tim Baillie - canoeing

Laura Bechtolsheimer - equestrian

Scott Brash - equestrian

Alistair Brownlee - triathlon

Steven Burke - cycling

Luke Campbell - boxing

Peter Charles - equestrian

Katherine Copeland - rowing

Helen Glover - rowing

Alex Gregory - rowing

Carl Hester - equestrian

Philip Hindes - cycling

Sophie Hosking - rowing

Jade Jones - taekwondo

Anthony Joshua - boxing

Peter Kennaugh - cycling

Dani King - cycling

Mary King - equestrian

Ben Maher - equestrian

Ed McKeever - canoeing

Joanna Rowsell - cycling

Greg Rutherford - athletics

Louis Smith - gymnastics

Heather Stanning - rowing

Etienne Stott - canoeing

Anna Watkins - rowing

Peter Wilson - shooting

* Video filmed by Matt Dathan

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