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Dublin: 3°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

Wiggins and other leaders attacked by mob on Le Tour

The yellow jersey holder was lucky to come out with only very minor injuries.

Image: Laurent Cipriani/AP/Press Association Images

TOUR DE FRANCE leader Bradley Wiggins has revealed how he and the other riders in the peloton were attacked by a mob brandishing burning flares on Friday.

Wiggins’ yellow jersey was singed as he and his fellow competitors forced their way through fans brandishing the flares so popular at rugby and football grounds.

“I’m covered in yellow stuff at the moment,” admitted Wiggins afterwards. “I got hit on the arm with a flare at 25k to go. It burnt my arm a bit, but other than that it was all right.

“There were quite a few guys running up the hill with lit flares in the peloton. It was pretty dangerous and I’m sure those guys are nursing a few wounds tonight because there were quite a few bottles thrown in their direction from the peloton.”

Meanwhile, the Briton has vowed to keep convincing people that he is riding clean, and without the aid of illicit substances, given the controversies that have dogged the cycling world in recent years.

“What is the point in winning the Tour de France, or attempting to win the Tour, if it’s not going to be going down in history for the right reasons, with a slight amount of suspicion from certain parts of the media?,” said Wiggins.

“It’s all right me sitting up here and saying ‘I don’t want to talk about it, I’ve said what I have to say about it’. But if I am to be in this position now for another week, let’s hope, and then beyond and perhaps next season trying to do it all again, there’s no point in me sitting and swearing every time that question gets asked.

“Let me try and articulate this a little bit from what I have in my life and what I have to lose in my life. It’s like holding a hand full of sand, it could go through my hands at any time. It hurts me. I take it very personally. Perhaps I shouldn’t take it personally, perhaps it’s just a position our sport is in from people who have set a precedent, sat in this position before me.

“When asked those questions, ‘what else can I do?’ I do want to start building bridges to prove that. If I can be as open, as honest as possible, hopefully that will go some way to people believing that what I’m doing is honest and off of bread and water and hard work.”

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