Sir Bradley Wiggins (42) did not show up for the start of the Ghent Six Days on Tuesday evening. He reportedly sent his cat because of “financial issues.” Barely six years after he hung up the bike, the five-time Olympic champion and former Tour winner is facing a damage claim of more than 1.4 million euros.
Quite an honors list, even officially knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2013, but financially Sir Bradley Wiggins has been in turbulent waters for several years. The two companies he founded in London have been in the red since 2020 and receivers are now looking for ways to pay creditors. Not pleasant times for the ever-cheerful Wiggins.
The 2012 Tour winner is the owner of both Wiggins Rights Limited, a company that owns, among other things, the rights to the brand names Bradley Wiggins, Wiggins and Wiggo has. This allows the former Tour winner to invoice his side activities, such as making podcasts, TV appearances and cycling clothing brands that release a line under his name. That company still has a small 750,000 euros in debt outstanding.
New Team Cycling Limited is Wiggins’ other company with which he founded his own team in 2015 to prepare himself for the Rio Games, but which Tom Pidcock, James Knox, Mark Donovan and Owain Doull also raced for, among others. In 2019, this continental team ceased to exist. The company behind it in turn has about 670,000 euros in debt. Remarkable side note: Wiggins Rights Limited’s paperwork shows that between 2016 and 2018 the company paid out more than 3.5 million euros in dividends to shareholders, being Wiggins himselfwhich owns 98 percent of the shares.
Wiggins voluntarily liquidated both companies in 2020, but that is not the end of the matter. The creditors still want to see money from him. About half of the amount that Wiggins is still in the red, he must pay back to 101 Ride Limited. After some further digging, it turns out that behind that company is one Catherine Wiggins, Sir Bradley’s ex. In 2020, the couple separated after sixteen years of marriage and that divorce seems Wiggo thus saddled with a serious financial hangover.
Well a third of the debts that are hanging over Wiggins, belong to the British tax authorities and they are of course not prepared to drop them just like that out of respect for the performances he delivered as a rider. Wiggins denies a large part of the debts and also indicated that bicycles and motorcycles that he would own to pay off the debts were stolen. He has already sold a property worth around 685,000 euros to repay part of it, but that is only enough for about half. It is not clear how to proceed now, but if Wiggins cannot officially rebut or repay his debts, a lawsuit may be imminent.
A difficult situation for one of the most charismatic cyclists of the last decades, who in eighteen years of career, on both the road and the track, racked up the top prizes and, at the top of his abilities, earned an estimated annual salary of 1.5 million euros at TeamSky.