Bradley Wiggins’ hopes of becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France were shattered on this day in 2011 when he suffered a broken collarbone.
He bounced back to achieve the feat during an unforgettable 2012.
Here, the PA news agency looks back at the incident and Wiggins’ subsequent achievements.
The Team Sky rider – then aged 31 – was sixth overall when the Tour left Le Mans to begin stage seven. He was caught up in a multiple pile-up around 40km from the end of the 218km stage in Chateauroux, leaving the race in an ambulance before later undergoing surgery on his injury. Wiggins’ compatriot Mark Cavendish went on to win the stage, while Australian Cadel Evans was the overall Tour winner.
What was said?
After his race ended abruptly, a visibly shaken Wiggins offered a pragmatic assessment. “It was just one of those things, I couldn’t get up off the floor for love nor money,” he said. “That’s the risk you take as bike riders – it’s unfortunate but life goes on.” Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford added: “It’s obviously a devastating day for the team. Bradley’s in great shape, team leader, it’s the end of his Tour. He was in the form of his life.”
How did he recover?
Wiggins was back in the saddle competitively just six weeks later. He led Team Sky at the Vuelta a Espana, using the race and the world time trial championship as a rehearsal for a twin bid on the Tour de France and Olympic time trial event in 2012. He finished third in the Vuelta general classification behind Sky team-mate Chris Froome. His final position was last year upgraded to second after Spanish rider Juan Jose Cobo was stripped of the title for doping violations.
Success in 2012
In 2012, Wiggins turned agony to ecstasy in sensational style as he enjoyed the greatest year of his career and became a household name. He ended Britain’s 109-year wait for a Tour de France winner, celebrating on the Champs-Elysees and returning home to “overwhelming adulation”. Later that summer he won gold in the individual time trial at London 2012 before capping a phenomenal 12 months by being crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year and knighted in the New Year Honours.
Successful in both track and road cycling, Wiggins retired in 2016 and sits among Britain’s most-decorated Olympians. He won eight medals across five Games – five gold, one silver and two bronze – a feat unrivalled by his compatriots. With six each, only fellow cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny have clinched more gold medals than Wiggins. The 40-year-old later took up rowing but abandoned plans to compete in the sport at the postponed 2020 Olympics.