Wiggins' rise to historic Tour de France triumph
Too often, sportsmen and women disappoint in real life. Such is their drive and insular existence that, in person, they prove to have little to offer bar their sporting success.
Bradley Wiggins could not be more in contrast to this. In comparison to many of his monosyllabic fellow sportsmen, Wiggins is a breath of fresh air, plus he has the talent to match his colourful personality.
On Sunday, he became the first British rider to win the Tour de France in a dominant display that suggests future Tour success looks likely to follow even when Alberto Contador returns following his doping ban and Andy Schleck recovers from the injury that ruled him out of this year's race.
What makes Wiggins so refreshing is that he just cannot help speaking his mind. There have been the expletive-laden press conferences at the Tour when accused of doping, and there have been excellent soundbites throughout his career.
When he moved from Garmin to Team Sky, who pay him about £1.5million a year, he likened it to leaving Wigan for Manchester United in the Premier League. And at his coming of age Tour in 2009 - where he finished fourth - he flumoxed his rivals as he cheered his own climbing efforts mid-stage by shouting "now that's what I'm talking about".
Wiggins was born in Gent, Belgium, to a cyclist, Gary, who would later leave Wiggins and his mother. He became an alcoholic and, by the time of his death, father and son were estranged and had not talked for years.
As a young rider, Wiggins was a natural although he was different to his peers as he came through the ranks. A massive Paul Weller fan - the Jam lead singer is his idol - he had a penchant for the Mod existence and still sports long sideburns, an ode to that generation.
In addition, he owns a series of classic scooters and is a keen guitarist although insists his musical talents are slim.
For a long time, though, his success came on the track. He won bronze at the Sydney Olympics and went on to win gold, silver and bronze four years later in Athens.
But he returned home disgruntled at the lack of adulation for his achievements. Following Beijing, where he helped British Cycling blaze a trail with two gold medals, he suffered massive lows.
He locked away his bicycle and admits he partied rather too hard, to the extent that he was worried he would go off the rails, just like his father. But with the love of his wife, Cathy, and following the birth of his son, Ben, in March 2005, he decided to clean up his act and focus full bore on his road race ambitions having achieved all he needed to on the track.
Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters, who has a penchant for signing untapped talent, saw something in Wiggins, which resulted in the Briton's superb 2009 Tour.
The lucrative move to Sky followed but Wiggins faltered, seeming to struggle in the role of team leader and could only finish 23rd at the following year's Tour. The French media suggested his success had been a flash in the pan.
Determined to prove otherwise, he got himself into the shape of his life for the 2011 edition of the race only to crash out with a broken collarbone. Undeterred, he merely knuckled down again, honing his talents at altitude for much of winter in the volcanic outlook of Pico del Teide in Tenerife.
There, he turned not into a proper road racer but the best in the world. Wins followed at Romandy, the Dauphine Libere and the Criterium du Dauphine. It marked him out as the hot favourite for the Tour; the issue was whether he could live up to that billing.
Wiggins has something of a chip on his shoulder and does not believe he gets the recognition he deserves. Such a viewpoint is ridiculous. In Britain, he has been littered across the front and back pages while, in France, where they do not take kindly to foreigners winning their race, he has become a star.
Shouts from the road of "Allez Wiggo!" and constant references in print to "Le Gentleman" have become the norm, thanks in part for his love for the tradition of the race.
When one of his rivals, Cadel Evans, punctured and lost large chunks of time on the 14th stage, it was Wiggins that ordered the peloton to slow to allow him to catch up. That behaviour, as much as his impressive rides, endears him to the Gallic public.
There have been accusations of doping but Wiggins is as anti-doping as they come - a refreshing change in a sport with a shady history. He has published his blood passport in the past - a clear indicator of any potential irregularities regarding doping by a rider.
There are a few critics who dare to suggest fellow Team Sky rider Chris Froome is the better climber and could have beaten Wiggins in a straight fight. But Wiggins remains the more complete rider of the pair and nothing should take away from a very special accomplishment, one his former track teammate Sir Chris Hoy described as "the greatest achievement by a British sportsman of all time".