Bradley Wiggins on Lance Armstrong, bluffing in Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins, Lance Armstrong

Bradley Wiggins looked back at going toe to toe with Lance Armstrong at the 2009 Tour de France, likening Armstrong’s ability to hide his suffering on tough climbs to befriending you and then slipping “the knife in your back.”

Wiggins made the comments in an interview with British three-time Olympic track cycling medalist Victoria Pendleton on BBC Radio.

Wiggins, the first Brit to win the Tour de France in 2012 and a seven-time Olympic cycling medalist, initially finished fourth in the 2009 Tour. Armstrong also raced the 2009 Tour, the first of his consecutive comeback Tours following his 2005 retirement. Armstrong initially finished third, one spot ahead of Wiggins.

Armstrong was stripped of that result, along with his record seven Tour titles, due to doping during his career. (Armstrong has denied he doped in his 2009-10 comeback). That put Wiggins on the podium, retroactively.

“I finished fourth, or subsequently third, whichever way you look at Lance Armstrong in your life,” Wiggins said in the BBC Radio interview. (Wiggins previously used incendiary language about Armstrong, saying the cancer survivor was lying when he said he didn’t dope during the 2009 Tour).

Wiggins, who hasn’t ridden the Tour since 2012 and likely won’t ever again, went on to discuss suffering in the Tour, a three-week, 2,000-mile stage race.

“It’s as much about destroying your competitors’ morale,” Wiggins said.

Armstrong proved quite talented in that respect.

“He was always talking to me on these climbs,” Wiggins said. “In the heat of the moment, he would go [American accent], ‘Wiggo, you even trying, man?’ … That was his tactic was to talk to you as if he was your best friend. He was incredible at that, almost befriending you, and then he’d slip the knife in your back. You could do that in the Tour de France when you’re climbing hour after hour on these climbs, giving you the impression that he wasn’t suffering.”

Wiggins, 34, also reiterated his desire to compete in a fifth Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. With one medal in Rio, Wiggins will pass track cyclist Chris Hoy for the most Olympic medals won by a British athlete.

Wiggins won the World Road Cycling Championships time trial for the first time Sept. 24, but his best medal hope in Rio may be on the track.

Wiggins won a silver medal for England as part of the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in July, his first major venture into track cycling since 2008.

Great Britain made the podium in the team pursuit at the last four Olympics, three times with Wiggins.

“I still have this romantic dream of finishing in Rio, winning a fifth Olympic gold medal,” Wiggins said when asked by Pendleton of what motivates him now. “Whether that happens or not is another thing.”

Lindsey Vonn: I don’t know if I’ll ski slalom again

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich

A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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