BRAD Wiggins alluded to a tough upbringing when he was asked what his late Australian father would make of his Tour de France achievements.
His father Gary died in suspicious circumstances after he was found unconscious in an Aberdeen street four years ago.
‘‘I don’t know, really, it’s difficult to say. It depends whether he was sober,’’ Wiggins said.
Asked again about his Hunter-based father, the 32-year-old champion British cyclist and current Tour de France leader replied simply: ‘‘I’ve put that one to bed.’’
Gary Wiggins, himself a leading track cyclist in the 1970s and ’80s, left his wife Linda when Brad was two years old.
He did not make contact with Brad for another 14 years and they had a complex, tenuous relationship.
Gary Wiggins, 55, visited an Aberdeen home on January 24, 2008, but was seen by neighbours being dragged out and dumped beside the road later that night.
He eventually got up and walked away, but was found unconscious in Segenhoe Street, Aberdeen, the next morning. He later died in hospital from haemorrhaging due to a blow to the back of the head.
After Gary’s death, relatives found scrapbooks full of clippings about Brad’s cycling career when they cleaned out his flat.
‘‘Especially with the six days [track racing], that was his thing, and to get into that ... he was very proud, but obviously a lot has changed since then,’’ Brad said.
One thing that has not changed since stage seven of this year’s Tour is that Wiggins has an iron grip on the yellow jersey as race leader.
Provided he suffers no surprise setbacks in the final stages, Wiggins should confirm he will be the first British rider to win the Tour with a strong performance in Saturday’s time trial stage. The Tour ends in Paris the following day.
The mystery and pain of Gary Wiggins’s death has never left his sister Glenda Hughes who, through the Newcastle Herald, has spent four years chasing details of what happened the night her brother died.
Mrs Hughes believes Wiggins met with foul play and that two men are responsible for his death.
The coroner who examined Mr Wiggins’s death ruled that he was assaulted on the night in question. The coroner also found that some witnesses lied at the 2009 inquest.
‘‘I made my dad a promise that I would try and have this resolved before he closed his eyes for the last time. I am usually true to my word,’’ Mrs Hughes said