LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's most decorated cyclist Bradley Wiggins announced his retirement on Wednesday after a glittering career during which he claimed most of the sport's biggest prizes.
The wise-cracking Londoner with a Mod haircut played a major part in growing cycling's popularity in his homeland, becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012 and collecting a British record eight Olympic medals, including gold in the time trial at the 2012 London Games.
"2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards, 'feet on the ground, head in the clouds' kids from Kilburn don't win Olympic Golds and Tour de Frances'! They do now," the 36-year-old Wiggins said on Twitter.
The final months of his career have been dogged by a row about therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) and a medical package delivered to Team Sky officials ahead of the 2011 Tour de France, but Wiggins did not mention those issues.
"I've met my idols and ridden with and alongside the best for 20 years," he said.
"I have worked with the world’s best coaches and managers who I will always be grateful to for their support.
"What will stick with me forever is the support and love from the public though thick and thin, all as a result of riding a pushbike for a living," added Wiggins who won five Olympic gold medals.
"2012 blew my mind and was a gas. Cycling has given me everything and I couldn't have done it without the support of my wonderful wife Cath and our amazing kids."
(Reporting by Neil Robinson; editing by John Stonestreet and Ed Osmond)