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Sir Bradley Wiggins' Children Bullied Over Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal

05/02/2014 14:48 GMT | Updated 05/02/2014 14:59 GMT
Scott Mitchell via Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 22: Bradley Wiggins relaxes with his children after Stage Twenty of the Le Tour de France 2012 between Rambouillet and the Champs-Elysees on July 22, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Scott Mitchell/teamsky.com via Getty Images)

Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed he had to move his children to a new school because of harassment following his Tour de France win and the Lance Armstrong drug revelations.

In 2012, the Team Sky rider became the first British winner of the Tour, several months before United States rider Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles after finally admitting he had doped extensively throughout all of those wins.

Wiggins admitted his two children, Ben and Isabella, had suffered "horrendous" bullying due to Armstrong's admissions and his own increased profile, notably through playground taunts over drug use in cycling.

bradley wiggins lance armstrong

Wiggins and Armstrong race at the 2009 Tour de France

"That [Tour win] changed everything," Wiggins told national newspapers. "I left home pretty much unknown and came home the most famous man in the country for that week.

"It was hard for me and the family. It affected them as well. The Lance Armstrong thing in January... my kids started getting harassed at school. 'Is your dad on drugs? He won the Tour. Is he the same as Lance Armstrong?'

"Horrendous stuff. Horrible. My son getting bullied at school. I had to move my kids from that school and move them to another school.

"I felt responsible for that and it all added to my unhappiness at the time. But a year on, it feels like a complete contrast. I feel much more comfortable in my own shoes now."

Bradley Wiggins - A Career In Medals

Wiggins also spoke of his improved relationship with team-mate Chris Froome, which he hopes can be of benefit at this year's Tour.

Froome won last year's Tour but failed to make the same impact on the public as Wiggins, who was knighted and was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year after adding his fourth Olympic gold and seventh medal.

"I kind of felt I won the public over, especially the French public, two years ago," Wiggins said. "It's like the film Gladiator, you win the public and you win your freedom.

"I kind of won my freedom, whereas the opposite happened with Chris if you like. It would be nice to go back to the Tour and, if anything, just take the pressure off Chris a little bit. Take some of those questions for him and challenge people for him."