Bradley Wiggins glad to be back on the road with the Tour of Britain – and glad to be riding in Norfolk
British Cycling superstar Bradley Wiggins hailed an excellent start to this year's Tour of Britain – even if things did not go quite to plan.
The Olympic time trial champion and Tour de France winner saw a Sky team-mate lead home the field on Sunday's 199.6km opening stage from Ipswich to the Royal Norfolk Showground.
But it was Welsh rookie Luke Rowe who took the plaudits and jerseys at the finish line after world road race champion Mark Cavendish's hopes ended in a nasty pile-up on the sharp final turn into the showground.
In fact, Wiggins suffered his own moment in the barriers after slightly overdoing one of the last bends – but both should continue on for the rest of the race, and may well have a cause to work for in race leader Rowe.
'After Cav went I overcooked the next corner and was off the front, then it was just Luke,' lamented Wiggins. 'But we won, which was the main thing. It is great for Luke but unfortunate for Cav – he went down hard again.
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'Luke deserves it. He has been knocking on the door all year, has had some third and fourth places – what a day to shine for him.
'I have had easier days on the bike but it was nice to be back in the team racing, to have a job, a role and routine. We will see how it goes day by day but this tour is a tough race, so we will have to see how it develops.'
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Wiggins' incredible success this season both home and abroad has helped take cycling's popularity to another level – something proven by record crowds along the stage one route through Suffolk and Norfolk.
But the man himself, currently favourite with bookmakers to take the 2012 BBC sports personality of the year award, is adjusting to his own hero status.
'The crowds were on a par with the Tour of France but you kind of expect it to be like that now with the Olympics and everything else we have done,' said Wiggins, who has been at the heart of British Cycling's success.
'You get used to it and it is not a big surprise, but it is really nice.
'All of this has been hard to come to terms with really – it has been a big summer for me, and you can never plan for what happens next.
'When I go to Tesco and I'm trying to pack the shopping and you are getting all this (reception), or you are trying to have a pizza with your kids in town… that is difficult. You are expected to know the answers to everything. You are the messiah. Everyone wants to know what you think. But I don't know the all the answers – I'm just human.
'But then again, when you come to somewhere like this, it is brilliant and you really enjoy it.'