Wiggins: Coronavirus impact could be ‘devastating’
Bradley Wiggins has shared his emotional views on the impact the coronavirus could have on cycling at the start of season three of his Eurosport podcast.
Speaking with presenter Graham Willgoss and guest Matt Stephens in the latest edition of The Bradley Wiggins Show, available now on all major podcast platforms, the legendary British cyclist talked about the potentially 'devastating' impact the virus could have on the world of professional cycling.
The Giro d'Italia, scheduled to start in May, has been postponed and the spring calendar decimated by the spread of COVID-19. Paris-Nice continued last week but finished a stage early, on Saturday, and Paris-Rouaix and the Tour of Flanders are now both at risk too.
"Cycling is the least important thing compared to other things in life, but this is still their livelihoods," Wiggins said on the podcast.
" We keep saying ‘it’s only sport’ but for these guys the financial implications for the sponsors and teams – this could be devastating for a lot of them."
"It did seem odd that, with everything else going [being cancelled] and the crisis in Italy at the moment and just the outpouring of love for Italy that we were going very close to their [Paris-Nice] towards Nice with a massive bike race, celebrating that, when this thing is getting very serious.
"There’s no toilet roll, no paracetamol, and this massive bike race is going on.
"You see the Premier League is going and those things, and you think, why did Paris-Nice ever go ahead really, when we’d already lost Tirreno-Adriatico and teams…?"
Stephens shared Wiggins' concern and felt that the situation was 'precarious' for many parties within the sport.
"This situation is fluid and it is totally unprecedented in our lifetimes," Stephens said. "When you put into context that Flanders has never been cancelled in 100 years, including the war years, it just shows you.
"For the cycling calendar it’s more than disruptive. Organisations, race organisers, promoters are going to be losing money; teams have got no exposure for their investment.
" This thing could go on and on and on, and it’s this uncertainty that is the most frightening thing at the moment. The longer this goes on, the more precarious the situation for the Giro, Tour and Vuelta."
"Within the grand scheme of things, cycling is relatively insignificant because it’s the welfare of people that is at the forefront of all of this."
Listen to the full podcast for thoughts on:
- In-depth discussion on impact of coronavirus on cycling
- Special tribute to Nicolas Portal
- What next for the cycling season after coronavirus cancellations?
- Review of the Track World Championships
- Looking back at the controversial staging of Paris-Nice
- 'Ask Brad' from a very surprising celebrity