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Sir Bradley Wiggins retires from cycling

By Rory Dollard

Sir Bradley Wiggins has announced his retirement from cycling, ending a career that saw him win a British record eight Olympic medals as well as the country's first Tour de France title.

The 36-year-old posted a statement on his Instagram page on Wednesday afternoon, accompanying a picture of his collected race jerseys, medals and trophies.

In it, he said: "2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards, 'feet on the ground, head in the clouds' kids from Kilburn don't win Olympic Golds and Tour de Frances! They do now."

Wiggins, who conquered his sport on the road as well as in the velodrome, won his fifth Olympic gold in Rio this year as part of the team pursuit, adding to a tally that also includes a silver and two bronzes.

He competed in five successive Games from Sydney 2000 and reached a career high in 2012 when he completed an unprecedented double of a maiden Tour de France victory with Team Sky and a home Olympic triumph in the time-trial in London.

His retirement message also read: "I have been lucky enough to live a dream and fulfil my childhood aspiration of making a living and a career out of the sport I fell in love with at the age of 12. I've met my idols and ridden with and alongside the best for 20 years.

"I have worked with the world's best coaches and managers who I will always be grateful to for their support. What will stick with me forever is the support and love from the public though thick and thin, all as a result of riding a pushbike for a living. 2012 blew my mind and was a gas.

"Cycling has given me everything and I couldn't have done it without the support of my wonderful wife Cath and our amazing kids."

Bradley Wiggins achievements in numbers:

1 - Wiggins was the first Briton to win the Tour de France with his victory in 2012.

5 - Major stage race general classification wins on the road.

8 - Wiggins has won more Olympic medals than any other Briton, with his haul of eight including five golds.

13 - combined titles at the Olympics and UCI Track World Championships.

4:15.031 - Wiggins' Olympic record time in the 2008 individual pursuit.

3:50.265 - his team's world record time in winning Olympic team pursuit gold at Rio 2016.

3,496.9 - the number of kilometres raced in Wiggins' 2012 Tour de France victory.

6 - major victories for Wiggins' eponymous development team in their first season in 2015.

2012 - Wiggins' annus mirabilis, in which he won the Tour de France, Olympic gold in the road time trial, the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award and the Velo d'Or as well as further successes in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine.

54.526km - the world record distance ridden by Wiggins in an hour at the former London Olympic velodrome in June 2015.

2 - Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have twice teamed up to win the world Madison title, in 2008 and 2016.

18 - Wiggins' age when he won his first senior medal, silver in the team pursuit at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

120 - his position when eliminated from his first Grand Tour event, the 2003 Giro d'Italia, after stage 18.

40 - Wiggins' three medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics made him the first Briton to achieve that feat in 40 years, since Mary Rand in Tokyo in 1964.

Five things about Sir Bradley Wiggins:

1 BORN IN THE VELODROME

Some of Wiggins' earliest memories are from Ghent's 't Kuipke velodrome, where his father Gary competed as a Six Day racer. Although his father was soon estranged, Wiggins began racing at Herne Hill Velodrome in London and the Eastway track, which is now the site of the London Olympic Velodrome.

2 REVOLUTIONARY TRAILBLAZER

Wiggins became the first cyclist on the Lottery-funded world-class performance programme. His talent was recognised by then British Cycling performance director Peter Keen in 1998 and it set in motion a career which had many varied achievements on both the track and the road.

3 FOR QUEEN, COUNTRY - AND 'GOD'

After becoming the first British winner of the Tour's yellow jersey in 2012, Wiggins received a letter from the Queen and direct Twitter messages from Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and ex-Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler. "I had a message from God," Liverpool fan Wiggins said.

4 SQUABBLING LIKE SIBLINGS

Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have been two of the main protagonists in British cycling's boom. They have twice won the world Madison title (in 2008 and 2016) and have had periods where they did not speak at all. Wiggins played an integral role in Cavendish's 2011 road world title win.

5 MEET THE NEW BOSS

Wiggins has a clear path to stay involved in professional cycling after launching his eponymous development team in 2015. WIGGINS began as a vehicle to aid his return to the track, but the graduation of Owain Doull and Jon Dibben to Team Sky shows the potential of the young squad. After the Ghent Six Day was over, Wiggins announced his intention to "get in the gym, get absolutely shredded and be the fittest team manager in the peloton".

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