Bradley Wiggins spoke exclusively to ITV's Ned Boulting after his Stage 19 time trial win confirmed his historic overall victory at the Tour de France. Here is the interview in full:
"It'll never get any better than this. To win the Tour for the first time, to be the first British winner of the Tour, and to see what it means to a lot of people ... that's what makes it all worthwhile I guess. I don't know what to feel, I don't know how I feel. A lot of it is relief that we've come through the three weeks, that we've done the performance, all that side of it.
"To see what it means, like your mechanic crying, to see that you've done that to someone, that's nice, you know. It'll never ... a bit like the Olympics, when we won the first time, there was a lot of emotion. The second time it was very businesslike.
"I don't think it'll ever be the same again, you know? It try to sum it all up in words ... I've gone out and put I think a world-class performance together in an hour time trial, with all that, everything else that's gone on in the last couple of weeks.
"To finish off like that, in that style, that's what I'm good at doing ... People might criticise me for some things I say in the press, or for not talking to the press, but no-one can deny that I'm really good at what I do, which is that today. That's it really.
"Feel is a funny thing. You can feel a lot of different things. Trying to sum up what it means is something completely different. That's a lifetime of something, you know ... more importantly the last four years I've been on this road, since I finished fourth, trying to go past it, and a realisation that maybe one day I could win the Tour. But that's purely a performance thing.
"But in terms of the road to get here from childhood, I'll try and explain it in football terms, because a lot of people in the UK love football ... for me cycling is my football, it's what I grew up doing, posters are still on the walls and things, watching Indurain step on to the podium in Paris, and although you dream it as a child, you never imagine that one day that would become reality. So for me to come to the Tour and tomorrow go through that ... you sort of question sometimes: "Why me? Why has this happened to me?" you know and I just rang me mother and Cath.
"I start thinking what my mother must think, and this is her son, you know, could she have ever imagined that one day that ... I mean yeah. So as I say all those things that it means to other people. And it's the Tour de France, it doesn't get much bigger than this.
"To go back to Liege and that massive press conference that we had in that hotel and all the craziness there, as the favourite, and not just the favourite this week but since March and I stepped up and won Paris-Nice ... and it's all done now. It's all done.
"Ultimately I'm just a normal bloke. I'm like everybody else. I like to think I'm a normal bloke. OK I'm good at cycling and maybe that makes me not a normal person as such. But you know, I take my kids to school every morning. I wait for them at the gates at half three. I go to Tesco shopping. I queue up like everyone else. I take my dogs for a walk.
"I go out and work hard and go to work like everybody else does. OK my work is going out on the bike for four, five, six hours. I go away for long periods to train, you miss childrens' birthdays and things and they don't really understand where you've gone and why you're not there for their school assemblies and things, and it's all for this. I go back home tomorrow night, and I go back to reality, and life goes on in many ways. OK it might not be the same again in how people perceive you or look at you.
"I don't want my life fundamentally to change, I don't want to become a celebrity, I don't want to go on gameshows or all this, that or the other. I just want to remember as someone who won the Tour de France and who was good at what he did. I like to think that there's no bullsh*t with me, what you see is what you get and either people like it or they don't like it.
"I'm a pretty honest person, I'm pretty open. I think I like to think that what I've achieved here ... I've been as honest as I can be and as frank as I can be. Maybe not in the most articulate sense at times but I really want this to go down in history for the right reasons, and not for other reasons that people were hinting at in the first week when we were performing.
"That's it really. I've said it before but I'm just a kid from Kilburn really who happened to go on to win the Tour de France."
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