When he sets out for the Alps on Thursday morning, Bradley Wiggins will become the first British rider to wear the yellow jersey for four days in a single Tour de France, eclipsing the record set by Chris Boardman in 1994 and matched by David Millar in 2000. And on Wednesday night the leader of the 2012 Tour responded to an invitation to revisit his outburst of Saturday night, when he gave his expletive-splattered opinion of those who insinuate, via social media, that he and his Sky team-mates are not above the sort of suspicions that regularly darken the horizon of professional bike racing.
"I'm not some shit rider who has just came from nowhere," he said at the end of the 10th stage through the Jura massif that was won by the Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, "and I don't feel I should have to sit here and justify everything I've done to the world.
"I've been three times Olympic champion on the track. People have to realise what kind of engine you need to win an Olympic gold medal as an individual pursuiter. I've been six times world champion, fourth in the Tour de France, third in the Vuelta last year. I was a junior world champion. I've got an incredible pedigree behind me."
On a day that British Cycling – the organisation at the heart of Team Sky – announced that its membership has risen to 50,000, double the figure at the time of the Beijing Olympics, Wiggins, who maintained his 1m 53sec-advantage over the second-placed Cadel Evans, emphasised the integrity of his performance.
"Yes, I'm in the yellow jersey and I'm inspiring maybe kids to take up cycling, this, that and the other. But there's one reason why I'm in this position and that's because I've worked hard. I'm tested by the [sport's ruling body] UCI God knows how many times a year, God knows how many times in this race and the Dauphiné. Blood-tested in the morning. What more can I do, other than that?
"I'm only human at the end of the day. I'm not this robot. I'm just a kid from London who happened to be good at cycling, and made it here. I make mistakes in my life. I'm not this fantastic role model that everyone wants me to be. I'm good at riding my bike and performing on my bike. Other than that, sitting up here, answering all these questions every day, trying to be articulate about it – I don't know what else I can do."
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