The general feeling is that the accomplishments of Wiggins and his comrades of British-born Team Sky will give cycling in the UK the boost it has needed since Chris Hoy and co. laid the foundations in the velodrome.
However, the win was made more unique by the popularity of Wiggins amongst a French public starved of a homegrown winner for years. Wiggins has a certain je ne sais quoi that we at FutureBrand are calling ‘The Wiggo Factor’, a mix of mod styling, laid back demeanour, witty retorts and of course those trademark sideburns. The marketing power of these unassuming facial blankets should not be scoffed at!
As cycling fever gripped the nation (when it became clear that a Brit might actually win), fake sideburns were adopted as a symbol of support and British pride and have now become their very own flagwaving ritual. An unusual sight greeted the cyclists on the final stage as they raced to the finish: the Champs Elysees lined with hundreds of Union Jack flags and party shop facial adornments.
This is not a new phenomenon, athletes that have a bit of character and personality are instantly more marketable when the public can take an attribute and apply it (quite literally) to themselves. Take for example, the impressive moustache of Merv Hughes or the big frizzy hair and red headband of John McEnroe.
A packed out British crowd will be cheering on Team GB at the Olympic Road Race, its time to grow some sideburns for Wiggins, for Britain!