Bradley Wiggins has revealed how he first entered into discussions with Dave Brailsford before joining Team Sky on the latest episode of his Eurosport podcast.
Speaking on The Bradley Wiggins Show podcast, the 2012 Tour de France champion, along with fellow legend Sean Kelly, gave a fascinating insight into how deals get done in the cycling world.
Wiggins explained how his negotiations with Team Sky began at cycling's most famous Grand Tour back in 2009 - and in general about the somewhat clandestine nature of cycling talks during big races.
Pinot targets Giro d'Italia success as yellow jersey is 'too big'
"Well yeah, that started at the Tour de France," Wiggins said on his latest Eurosport podcast.
"I mean, that started earlier in the year, actually. That was all under the radar.
I had to meet Dave Brailsford at a supermarket on the rest day at the Tour de France - and that was all secret, you know.
"But unless you get in the door early and start things... August is late. We were sat around last year at the Giro, when it was late in the year, and people were scouting around for contracts.
"The later you leave it in the year, the fewer people have money. So the negotiations start earlier and earlier," Wiggins added.
"You want it for your security and your peace of mind, so you can concentrate on your bike riding. Contract things are the worst things to be going on."
'Real superstar' - Wiggins gives verdict on Evenepoel's opening stage
Kelly, another Eurosport expert and cycling legend, agreed with Wiggins about the need for getting in early with negotiations and having your future secured away from competition.
"It’s not something you want to have lingering out there," Kelly said. "If you have to wait until August and you’re still negotiating then the opportunities are much less, and the amount of money available is also less.
"As Brad says, in the earlier days, I was negotiating my contracts myself. But in the last 8-10 years [of my career], I had a manager who would do that.
"It does make it easier because they [managers] can talk quite big figures and, for the athlete yourself, it is quite difficult to do that. I felt that when I was in there; it was always difficult.
"But these guys, they just throw a sum out there and they don't have any worries; they just don't think about it.
There would be a lot of times during the Tour de France with teams talking to you. You would try and maybe slip out and go to a cafe or some place on the corner and have a coffee and talk to them.
"So it went on, but it wasn't good for you during the Tour because it does take away from your focus on the event."
'He can win it, he's in the mix' - Bigham and Wiggins on Yates
- - -
You can watch the Giro d'Italia live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.
Dumoulin in line to make Grand Tour return at 2022 Giro d’Italia
Blazin’ Saddles: The unsung heroes of the 2021 cycling season