Police in Australia have set up a task force to investigate the death of Australian former track cyclist Gary Wiggins, father of top British rider and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins.
Gary Wiggins was found unconscious at about 7.00am on Friday, January 25, in Segenhoe Street, Aberdeen, in the Hunter region of New South Wales, some 250km north of Sydney. He was taken to nearby Muswellbrook Hospital and then airlifted to John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle where he died.
The circumstances leading up to Gary Wiggins’ death are still to be confirmed and his death is being treated as suspicious at this stage, the NSW Police Force announced Tuesday afternoon. A post mortem examination has not yet determined how he died.
Strike Force Durbin, comprising detectives from Hunter Valley, Lower Hunter and Newcastle Local Area Commands, with assistance from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, has been formed to investigate Gary Wiggins’ death, NSW police said.
The creation of an investigating strike force is usually an indication that police believe a serious crime has been committed.
Talented rider who succeeded in Europe
Gary Wiggins was born in 1952 in Yallourn, Victoria, and became a leading Australian cyclist, representing the country several times at the world track championships, where he won gold in the kilo and team pursuit in 1977, as well as silver in the 15km event. Wiggins first moved to the United Kingdom in 1976 and began racing as an amateur with the Archer Road Club, and after a successful stint he then based himself in Gent, Belgium.
While at the Archer Road Club he met British track star Tony Doyle, and the pair teamed up to ride the Six Day circuit in Europe, including victory at the immensely popular Bremen Six Day in 1985, an event that regularly attracted a crowd of 100,000. Gary Wiggins also won the European Madison championship that same year with Doyle, and won a total of five European championships.
In addition, he was successful on the extremely competitive kermesse circuit, held during the warmer months in Europe. In the Belgian town of Eeklo, he won a major kermesse ahead of Belgian Lucian Van Impe, the 1976 winner of the Tour de France.
Back in Australia in 1985, Gary Wiggins also took out the Melbourne Cup on Wheels and a 1000-kilometre road race in Western Australia.
Wiggins met and married an English woman, Linda, and they had a son, Bradley, who was born in Gent in 1980. Bradley and his mother went to live in London after Gary returned to Australia in the late 1980s. It's understood that Gary Wiggins, while in irregular contact with Bradley, was enormously proud of his son's achievements on the track and road.
Bradley Wiggins declined to comment to Cyclingnews on the matter due to the circumstances surrounding his father’s death.