Rowing: Wiggins could make Olympic eight, says Hunter
Send a link to a friend
[November 28, 2017]
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Former Tour de
France champion Bradley Wiggins could fulfill his aim of becoming an
Olympic rower after swapping a bike for a boat, according to Beijing
gold medalist Mark Hunter.
Wiggins, Britain's first Tour de France winner in 2012 who also won
five Olympic cycling golds, has taken up rowing after announcing his
retirement last year.
The 37-year-old is in training for the British Indoor Rowing
Championships on Dec. 9 at the London Olympic velodrome where he
will test himself against the country's best oarsmen.
With double Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell coaching him,
Hunter would not be surprised if Wiggins makes the transition from
rowing machine to the water.
"I think it's great for the sport because he is a phenomenal athlete
and it's exciting to see what he can do," Hunter told Reuters at a
Sports Analytics Conference hosted by KPMG in London.
"The rowing machine is just like a watt bike and he has a big engine
and he is super fit so I think he will get some good results and go
below six minutes for 2,000 meters."
"On the water? That's a different challenge being able to take that
strength and power and the engine he has and put that on a boat.
It's a different skill set.
"There are moving parts as a rower. You have to work with other
people and train day in and day out in a system. That's maybe a
culture that he hasn't been in.
"I've seen others try and fail. But hats off to Bradley. He wouldn't
be doing this unless he believed he could do it."
Hunter believes the eight-man boat offers Wiggins the best chance of
a shot at the 2020 Olympics.
"I think he would be more suited in the sweep side of the sport, the
rowing side not the sculling," said Hunter, who won the lightweight
double sculls in Beijing.
"Sweep is a lot easier to learn than sculling which is more
technical. It's easier learning to use one blade than two.
[to top of second column]
Sky Procycling rider and leader's yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins of
Britain celebrates on the finish line after the final 20th stage of
the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Rambouillet and Paris,
France, July 22, 2012. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
"And the eight is a big boat that can be balanced for you and there
are people who can help you. It would be great to see him race at
the Henley Regatta and try to win that and work up."
Hunter has no doubt Wiggins is serious.
"Why would he put himself through it?" he said. "I think he's
looking for a new challenge. We've seen others go the other way from
the boast to the bike like Rebecca Romero. But going from cycling to
rowing. This has never been done before."
Hunter also thinks the relative weakness of the current British
squad offers a chance for Wiggins.
"It's the perfect window for Bradley because the team is not strong
at the moment. Lots of people retired, there are more seats, it's a
And in Cracknell, Hunter believes Wiggins has the right mentor.
"I think it's great. I know James Cracknell is giving him some
coaching and James is crazy as well so it will be interesting. He's
an endurance beast," Hunter said.
"I think he and Bradley are probably of a similar mindset. You might
not want them in a boat together but James is the ideal guy to give
Bradley some insight."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.