Calls were made last night for Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and the man behind Team Sky’s success, Dave Brailsford, to be knighted as Britain’s top sports stars acclaimed one of the greatest feats in British sporting history.
Lawrence Dallaglio, the man who played such a key role in England winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003, and who captained England and Wasps for so many years, was in no doubt that both men deserved the highest accolades after pulling off a first British victory in the 109-year history of the Tour.
Wiggins was anointed as the new king of the Tour yesterday in its 99th staging, thus making British sporting history.
Dallaglio, a keen charity cyclist himself who recently rode from Greece to London to raise money for good causes, saw his former England rugby head coach, Clive Woodward, receive a knighthood after his role in winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
Other great British Olympians such as Chris Hoy, Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent, are also knights of the realm after amassing 13 gold medals between them.
Now Dallaglio argues that Wiggins and Brailsford must join these lofty ranks.
“You have got to place this into context,” said the man who won 85 England rugby test caps. “British riders have gone to the Tour de France for most of its 99 years and returned with their tails between their legs.
“This time Bradley has dominated the event and achieved it with real honour and dignity. He has been a credit to his country and re-written British sporting history. It is a quite phenomenal achievement and one worthy of a knighthood, no question.”
He feels the same way about Brailsford, too, and makes comparisons with Woodward who proved so successful with the England rugby team.
“I take my hat off to Dave Brailsford and his team he has created. He reminds me so much of Clive Woodward in the meticulous way he has hand-picked his team, and then worked collectively towards the ultimate goal. Make no mistake, this has been no overnight success, and no accident either. He’s already been the mastermind behind Britain’s dominance of the Beijing Olympics in the velodrome, and now this, which tops it. I fully expect Brailsford to be called Sir David as soon as possible.”
Despite cycling road racer Mark Cavendish winning the BBC’s coveted Sports Personality of the Year award last December, and despite the fact that the Olympics could well produce incredible British sporting feats in the next few weeks, Dallaglio believes that for this year’s Sports Personality awards, all bets are off.
“They may as well give Bradley the award now,” added the former back row forward. “It will take something stupendous at the Games to take it away from him. Dave Brailsford wins Coach of the Year now, and Team Sky win team of the year. I don’t think anyone could argue with a clean sweep of the big awards this year.”