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LONDON (AFP) — Bradley Wiggins has labeled the marginal gains philosophy said to underpin much of British Cycling’s recent success as “a load of rubbish.”
In comments reported by The Telegraph on Monday, Wiggins was equally dismissive of the “chimp paradox” theory for dealing with pressure promoted by sports psychologist Dr. Steve Peters and said former British track teammate and fellow Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton was a “bit of a milkshake.”
Britain was seen to gain a technological advantage over its rivals thanks to research carried out under what became known as the “Secret Squirrel Club” headed up by former Olympic champion Chris Boardman that looked for legal improvements in bike design and rider equipment.
It all became known as part of the search for “marginal gains” but Wiggins, in what The Telegraph said were remarks made at a corporate event in the London, was unimpressed.
“A lot of people made a lot of money out of it and David Brailsford used it constantly as his calling card, but I always thought it was a load of rubbish,” said Wiggins.
“It’s a bit like the whole chimp thing,” added the five-time Olympic gold medalist, who won several golds when Brailsford was in charge of the British Cycling program. He also won the 2012 Tour de France for the Team Sky outfit headed up by the celebrated coach.
“At the end of the day, chimp theories and marginal gains and all these buzzwords — a lot of the time, I just think you have got to get the fundamentals right: go ride your bike, put the work in, and you’re either good or you’re not good.
“Sometimes in life or in sport, whatever, you’re either good at something or you’re not. That’s what makes you a better athlete: your physical ability and whether you’ve trained enough — not whether you’ve slept on a certain pillow or mattress.”
Pendleton, who won cycling golds at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and four years later in London, has spoken about how Peters helped her career.
But Wiggins said: “Vicky’s a bit of a milkshake [mixed up] anyway. You can over-analyze things but at the end of the day, it’s about your ability and whether you’re a better athlete than the other person or not.
“Whether you’ve come to grips with this other person living inside you, it’s all a bit … well, each to his own. That may work with some people, but as [former footballer] Roy Keane would say: it’s utter nonsense.”
The Telegraph said Wiggins was not asked at the event about the ongoing investigation into whether he had broken anti-doping rules at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.
Last week, Wiggins told Sky Sports he would have a “lot to say” and “shock a few people” when he finally comments in details on the allegations that center on whether he was given a legal decongestant or received an unauthorized injection of the powerful corticosteroid Triamcinolone without an official medical exemption.