Sir Bradley Wiggins returns to the track as cycling career nears its conclusion

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The long goodbye has begun for Sir Bradley Wiggins, with most clinging to fond memories.

The 36-year-old was competing on the first evening of the London Six Day event at the Lee Valley VeloPark, his final event on British soil before his planned retirement next month.

Wiggins, racing for the first time since September's Tour of Britain, received a warm welcome from the crowd.

He was pleased to be racing again, with 11 more days scheduled to follow in his storied career.

Wiggins said: "It's just good to get back on the bike. I love riding the track."

In the 74 days since the eulogies which greeted his fifth Olympic gold and British record eighth medal were penned, Wiggins has faced intense scrutiny.

The self-styled 'Kid from Kilburn' was Britain's first Tour de France champion in 2012.

It has emerged he sought and received permission to use triamcinolone, an otherwise banned substance with a history of abuse in cycling, prior to his victory.

Wiggins and Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford strenuously deny wrongdoing, insisting the injections which followed the granting of three therapeutic use exemptions were medically necessary to deal with a pollen allergy that aggravates the rider's long-standing asthma condition.

The TUEs had the approval of the UCI, cycling's world governing body, and there is no suggestion any rules were broken.

There is also an ongoing UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in cycling, something which followed reports a package was delivered to Team Sky at the June 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, then Wiggins' most significant road victory. He raced for Team Sky until April 2015.

Team Sky deny wrongdoing, and, like British Cycling, are co-operating with the investigation, which Wiggins has welcomed.

Wiggins five years ago became the first man to win the Tour de France and Olympic gold in the same year, his London 2012 success coming in the road time-trial at Hampton Court.

But he has still recorded significant achievements in the former Olympic Velodrome.

On June 7, 2015, he set the Hour record, circling the track for 54.526-kilometres in 60 minutes.

It was a painful experience, one Wiggins, with tongue firmly in cheek, likened to childbirth.

Events since Sept. 15, 2016, when the Fancy Bears hackers published Wiggins' TUEs, may have been just as painful, but have had a far more serious tone.

Wiggins' reputation remains in the eyes of the majority of those spectators who ventured to the London Six Day.

Sarah Henderson from London said: "He's still a great cyclist. He's shown his worth in lots of different disciplines.

"According to the rules, he hasn't broken them. That's what rules are there for. They're there to set a limit and he hasn't gone over it."

Emma Gillan from London added: "From what he's done, he's still a fantastic role model and fantastic athlete.

"Rules are rules. Unless they can prove it's against the rules, we go with the rules."

Wiggins has eight world titles and in March claimed his seventh on the track with a second Madison success with Mark Cavendish.

Wiggins and Cavendish, his teammate here, have been key protagonists in the British cycling boom. Many were in London to see the pair race, something they will do on multiple occasions each evening until Sunday.

Joseph Jonas from Leicestershire said: "What he's done he's done because he's put dedication in.

"There's been speculation about so many things. It seems to be if you're the best it seems to be 'how can you be the best?' other than training hard. All the best to him."

Wiggins' career is nearing a conclusion. His final revolutions will come at next month's Six Day in Ghent.

He was born in the Belgian city, where his father raced.

Wiggins added: "I've always said I was born to ride the Madison.

"The earliest memories I've had as a kid were sat in the cabin with my dad."

It completes a circle, but the story may not be finished.