Wiggins joins Hull’s ‘weekend warriors’ for 10-mile time trial

Team Wiggins' Bradley Wiggins crosses the finish line in York during the Tour de Yorkshire.
Team Wiggins' Bradley Wiggins crosses the finish line in York during the Tour de Yorkshire.
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Age may finally be catching up with him, his rivals may have beltedly overtaken him, but there is no one in the sport of cycling who can surpass Sir Bradley Wiggins when it comes to drama.

He is, after all, Britain’s pioneering cyclist.

Wiggins is already the most decorated Olympian these shores have ever produced, and could have another gold in Rio next summer.

He is also the nation’s first Tour de France winner, doing so in emphatic fashion three summers ago.

And even next month, at the ripe old age of 35, Wiggins will look to break further ground when he bids to lower the world hour record at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London.

You name it, box office Bradley has done it.

Except that is for the national 10-mile time trial – a nominal entry into the record books, but one that will be elevated today by the presence of the sideburned man in the rainbow jersey.

For in Hull this afternoon, at approximately 4.30pm, the members of the City Road Club will have company on their annual 10-mile time trial.

Wiggins has elected to pick this race out of many dozens he could have chosen to fine tune his preparations for June’s hour record tilt.

It means a man who has sipped champagne on the Champs-Elysees in the most famous peloton of all will be racing against keen amateurs along the A63.

“Part of it is just putting the number on my back and just racing,” said Wiggins, the last time he was in the White Rose county on the eve of the Tour de Yorkshire two weeks ago.

“It fits in well with the preparation for the hour record and it’s a fast course.

“It’s nice to come back and race a British time-trial as world champion.

“The entry for that event was for riders who could race 22 minutes and slower, and I got in because I haven’t done a time-trial (of that length) in years.

“It’s nice for the other 80 or so riders that they get to ride against the world champion.”

Wiggins will wear the rainbow jersey of world time-trial champion today, an honour he claimed for the first time in Ponferrada, Spain, late last summer.

He is also the Olympic time-trial champion. Who can forget the picture of him sat in a throne, shirt unzipped, legs folded and his hands raised in a peace sign?

Yet he is in the race because, perversely, he is slow enough to compete.

Organisers say they turned down almost 40 applications – complete with £10 entry fee – from cyclists keen to take part because they were deemed too fast: Wiggins made the cut because he does not hold a recent recorded time over the distance.

The time he is looking to beat today is the 17 minutes and 58 seconds mark set by Alex Dowsett in Cumbria in 2006, and if he does he will also be the recipient of a Cycling Time Trials (CTT) certificate.

First prize also comes with a £50 winners’ cheque from the race organisers, City Road Club in Hull. That appears a formality given the event in question was arranged to cater for the slower end of the amateur riding spectrum – the so-called ‘weekend warriors’.

Three thousand people have bought tickets to see him try and set the hour record in London on Sunday, June 7.

But there will be no such spectator problems this weekend with prospective vantage points including a handful of lay-bys, a couple of bridges over the dual carriageway, or even the cabs of the trucks which will chug past at hair-raisingly close proximity en route to Hull docks.

City Road Club’s chairman Ken Bateman said: “We are overjoyed and honoured to have Sir Bradley Wiggins riding on our local course.

“Our club is 50 years old this year so it will be quite a memorable occasion.

“We had heard rumours that he might consider taking part so when we got his application we were delighted.

“Ours is one of the quickest courses in the country on the right day.

“If it’s wet or windy it might not happen but the forecast is good so he has every chance of recording a time around 17 minutes.”

Wiggins and his time trial competitors will U-turn near North Ferriby before returning west-bound towards South Cave.

Once they have crossed the finish line on the A63 they will continue cycling back to the event hub at a village hall in nearby Newport.

Safety is a significant concern: in 2013, a rider was killed when he was struck by a car towing a caravan midway through an equivalent time trial event close to South Cave.