AS the nation continues to rejoice in Bradley Wiggins’s monumental Tour de France and London 2012 time trial victories, only one man in Bournemouth has an idea what the cycling legend went through to become Britain’s greatest.

Queens Park professional Daniel Lloyd made his Tour debut in 2010, riding as a domestique for 2008 winner Carlos Sastre while contracted to Cervelo Test Team.

Lloyd experienced the highs and the lows of the Tour, crashing on stage two and leaving “quite a lot of skin on the road” before picking himself up and helping team-mate Thor Hushovd win the 132-mile cobblestone stage three between Wanze (Belgium) and Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.

Lloyd eventually finished 163rd that year, completing the gruelling Tour in just over 95 hours after working his Lycra shorts off, albeit fruitlessly, for Sastre, who finished 19th in the overall classification.

Now racing for British team IG Sigma-Sport after leaving the newlyformed Garmin-Cervelo in 2011, Lloyd was a gripped spectator as Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour in its history.

The 31-year-old said: “It was amazing.

I knew he had the form to do it in the lead-up to the Tour, but it’s a bit like watching England play football and we were readying ourselves for a fall! But it was great that he came home with the yellow jersey.

“I think it will only be further along in the future that people realise just how special Brad’s achievement was.”

Lloyd revealed Wiggins, who added the Tour title to his three Olympic track gold medals, would have trained for around two years ahead of the 2012 Tour.

The star, a former winner of the Vuelta a Extremadura and fourthplaced finisher in the 2009 Tour of Qatar, added: “Brad has always been super-talented, but although he has also always been able to concentrate for three or four months at a time in the run-up to a big track championship, he could never quite do the same in his road racing.

“Now, he has managed to focus for 99 per cent of the year on the road and not had any real down moments physically and that is partly why he has been so successful.

“I can’t even begin to describe how dedicated Brad has been over the past 18 months or two years. He spent a lot of time away from his family and a lot of time riding at altitude without anything going on. You have to live for the sport for that period of time and it’s hard.

“I was so impressed, not just by how mentally strong he was, but also his overall concentration day after day in the Tour.”

With the Tour still fresh in the mind and the nation’s racers continuing to impress in the Olympic road and track events, Lloyd believes the next star of British cycling is just around the corner – if they can match Wiggins’s dedication.

“When I started out 10 or 15 years ago, cycling was such a minority sport,” said Lloyd. “There were little club rooms all over the place, but you would walk into the cafe in Lycra and the people would look at you like you were an alien!

“But I have seen a massive change over the past two years. I see so many people cycling – and, in some cases, going very, very fast!

“Cycling is massive in comparison with five years ago and a lot of that is down to people like Brad, Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and the other Olympic boys.

“If someone wants to do what Brad has done, though, they will have to be the best at everything. The main thing is having the talent in the first place.

“But sometimes people with talent fall by the wayside because they aren’t dedicated or can’t come back from a disappointment. It’s fine when things are going well, but it’s how you react to the low points that makes the difference.”