‘Kids from Kilburn aren’t supposed to win the Tour': — The Guardian
A string bean of a man in a khaki parka, smart jeans, stripy socks and flared sideburns walks past. “Bradley,” I say, gently. He jumps.
“Bradley, I’m Simon, your interviewer.”
“Oh,” he says, unnerved. “The thing is, I’ve just been round the corner for coffee and was stopped three times for photos.” He says it wasn’t like this a few months ago, before he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France, and he doesn’t quite know how to cope.
Has victory sunk in? “No. I don’t think it will, to be honest. I don’t think it has to sink in. I accept that I won the Tour, but I don’t know if I should feel any different. I understand what it means, because I love the history of the sport, but I don’t think I’ll ever…” He thinks through every sentence so thoroughly that he ties himself in knots – doubling back on ideas, qualifying every thought, adding last-second caveats. He’s got a cold, and sounds like a man coming down from a high without having fully experienced it in the first place.
The problem is, he says, there wasn’t time. After the Tour, it was the Olympics. So what about now? Does it hit him; does he turn to his wife and kids, and say, “You know what? I’ve won the Tour.” He smiles. “No. My wife says it to me occasionally. She’ll say, ‘Fuck! You won the Tour, Brad!’ like it dawns on her now and again.”
Does he wake up smiling these days? “Sometimes I feel… I wouldn’t say I wish I hadn’t won the Tour, but sometimes, especially with recent events, the Lance Armstrong stuff, I find it hard being the winner of the Tour and everything that goes with it. I wanted to be the winner for the challenge of what the sporting event is about and how hard you can train to do that, and I never wanted all the stuff that went with it.” In short, no, he doesn’t wake up smiling.