LONDON (Reuters) - Some fans sported fake Bradley Wiggins sideburns while roaring on the Briton to gold in the Olympic time trial on Wednesday, while one could have been wearing the Tour de France champion’s shorts.
Such is Wiggins’s popularity in his homeland after he became the first Briton to win the Tour that his shorts were stolen on Tuesday while he was using the shower and sauna at the Foxhills hotel in Surrey.
Tired and a little distant after being crowned Britain’s most-decorated Olympian earlier in the day when he carved around the 44km course in a little less than 51 minutes, Wiggins told a news conference the fan was welcome to his sweaty gear.
“It’s only a bit of cycling kit. But you don’t expect pilferers to do that in a five-star spa,” he told reporters at the Olympic Park after he arrived without his gold medal, much to the dismay of photographers.
Earlier, a statement from the hotel said: “Upon returning back to the locker room it seems that cycling fever has well and truly hit the Surrey club as the Official Team GB training lycra were nowhere to be seen.
“It seems an over-zealous fan has scored a fantastic London 2012 souvenir.”
Wiggins thought the smell of his kit would probably force the fan to sell it.
“Sweaty cycling kit is probably on eBay tonight,” he joked, vodka and tonic nearby to help him see out a gruelling day.
“You start to get a bit frustrated and angry,” he said when asked to sum up his emotions.
“It’s 10 past 10 now. This is the part you don’t prepare for. The minute you finish it’s mad, it’s the same on the Tour, the only difference there was they got me straight out of Paris on Sunday night to concentrate on the Games.
“But now the Olympics are done there’s no excuse to do something else. A lot’s changed. I never expected this to happen to me.”
Additional reporting by Julien Pretot in Hampton Court; Editing by Ed Osmond and John O'Brien