Bradley Wiggins ‘never told his family’ about childhood sex grooming, leaving them ‘feeling awful’ that he dealt with it alone, source says
- Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins said he was sexually groomed as a child
- The 41-year-old cyclist said he was groomed by a coach when he was aged 13
- He told former spin doctor Alastair Campbell about the incident in an interview
Sir Bradley Wiggins’ family ‘feel awful’ that he never told them directly how he was sexually groomed by a cycling coach when he was 13.
The Tour de France winner and Olympic champion is understood to have opened up only to half-brother Ryan at the time.
He did not reveal the coach’s name, leaving relatives with an agonising ‘guessing game’ as to who it was.
Tour de France winner and former Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, pictured, has revealed that he was groomed sexually by a cycling coach when he was aged 13
Bradley Wiggins, pictured here aged 13, has not publicly named the coach
Bradley, pictured left, with his son Ben, right, made the revelation in an interview with Men’s Health carried out by former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell
In an interview with Men’s Health UK this week, Wiggins said he could not tell his stepfather, Brendon Bowes, about the grooming as he ‘was quite violent to me’. But relatives said Mr Bowes, 62, rejected the claims and was devastated that his stepson never came to him.
‘I believe Ryan was the only family he confided in,’ a family source told the Mail. ‘He [Ryan] told his stepfather about five years ago and I think his mother found out through Ryan, too.
‘Ryan didn’t tell them the ins and outs of it, so they couldn’t do anything about it.
‘They have guessed at who it could be, but don’t know. They don’t believe there were any signs he was being abused but feel awful that they missed it.
‘For a lot of his family the first they will have heard of it will have been through this interview.’ Wiggins, 41, told former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell in the interview: ‘I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that.
‘It all impacted me as an adult… I buried it. My stepfather was quite violent to me, he used to call me a f****t for wearing Lycra and stuff, so I didn’t think I could tell him.
‘I was such a loner… I just wanted to get out of the environment. I became so insular.’ Wiggins’ father Gary, a professional cyclist, had walked out when he was a toddler. The drug-taking alcoholic was beaten to death in Australia.
The source said: ‘Brendon was really upset when he heard about the grooming – frustrated he couldn’t do anything about it because it was so historic and he didn’t even know the name of the abuser.
‘He felt like any father would if they learnt this about their son – he was livid. He has always seen him as his son.’
Wiggins first claimed his stepfather would beat him during a theatre tour four years ago.
The allegation shocked the family. Wiggins was best man at Mr Bowes’ wedding to his current wife Susan, 65, in 2003 – four years after he split from the cyclist’s mother Linda.
He also sent a signed photo, writing on it that he was ‘forever grateful’ to his stepfather for ‘giving me everything I needed to getting to where I am’.
Michelle North, of the NSPCC, said: ‘Sir Bradley Wiggins has shown real bravery in revealing how he was groomed. The impact can be devastating and long lasting.’ Wiggins declined to comment last night.
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