Wiggins on Safari at the Tour of Britain.
By Hannah Wiggins age 12.
On Monday, I found out that I had won a competition to be a ‘cub reporter’ at Knowsley Safari Park, reporting on the 10th Anniversary Tour of Britain. It was the third stage of the tour and my hero Sir Bradley Wiggins was tipped to win.
We had to arrive early as all the roads around Knowsley Safari Park were closing as part of the course. Driving through the main gates, my mum and I could see the Team Sky Buses arriving right in front of us, OMG Sir Bradley Wiggins was so near!
Even so early in the morning the atmosphere was building, with local school children arriving on buses; cycling enthusiasts lining the route, professional teams setting up and the support vehicles getting ready.
In the official media centre, we were given press passes, which enabled us to access all areas…so cool. All the other journalists who were attending were really nice. Marc Gaier from BBC Radio Merseyside gave me some great tips saying “make sure you eat something, you never know when your next break from interviewing will be.”
There were lots of cycling related activities going on and we saw Tom Hodgkinson who is a Go-Ride coach for British Cycling, he was getting all the school children to have a go at cycling. I ride for Eastlands Velo Club at the Manchester Velodrome and am passionate about the sport.
For the Stage 3 Time Trial there were 104 riders who would set off a minute apart from each other, so we set off to interview riders from the teams, and stopped to speak to Team IG Sigma Sport who were already warming up.
Next to them was team AN Post Chain Reaction where we were lucky enough to talk to Mark McNally a local lad from Crosby who now lives in Belgium. Mark said: (his team)“were there to do their very best”.
Team Garmin Sharp assured us that their rider Jack Bauer, was one to look out for (he came 3rd). The Garmin team leader’s advice to me was to expect to make plenty of sacrifices if I wanted a career in cycling.
Mark said that he “expected his best stage to be Stage 8 – the London Stage”, I wished him luck and he signed a water bottle, and autographed a picture for me – result!
We ran in the heavy rain back to the press office where Peter, one of the organisers, had a huge surprise for us. We were going to follow a rider around the course in a VIP guest car, amazing!
We followed Bernhard Eisel who rides for team Sky Procycling. It was so exciting and the roads were lined with loads of spectators all cheering and willing the riders on.
As we drove through the Safari Park, it was so beautiful and we saw a few of the animals that live there, but Bernhard cycled fast, and we seemed to cover the 10-mile course quickly. At the finish, we quickly jumped out of the car and made our way over to the Sky Procycling bus where Bernhard was warming down – I got to talk to him about his ride and also got some great tips for my cycling future.
At 13.33, all eyes were on Sir Bradley Wiggins as he set off. The rain had stopped and he flew off the ramp. He powered around the course, proving, as he said later, that (he is) “in the best shape of his career”.
His time was 19minutes 54.20sec, the only person to break 20minutes. This put him in the lead and made him the overall winner of Stage 3 and the favorite to win the Tour. It was fantastic to see Sir Bradley Wiggins so close on the podium, putting on the golden jersey as the Tour of Britain leader and raising his trophy above his head.
After the race I even got to have my first taste of TV reporting, as ITV Granada and Bay TV both interviewed me – so cool.