AS THE world celebrates Bradley Wiggins's Tour de France victory, a conspiracy of silence still hangs over the death in the Hunter Valley of his father, a champion cyclist with an unsavoury reputation for using drugs.
Gary Wiggins represented Australia in the 1970s but four years ago he was discovered unconscious in an Aberdeen street after being dragged out of a party at a nearby house one summer evening.
The coroner Elaine Truscott later ruled Wiggins had been assaulted before his death at the party in January 2008.
And although she called some witnesses liars, she stopped short of recommending charges against two men who had been at the party. The town has remained silent ever since.
In some ways, Wiggins ended up not far from where he began, for he was born in Yallourn, a brown coal town in Victoria's Gippsland, not dissimilar to Aberdeen.
Aberdeen started in the 1830s as one of the first villages in the Hunter Valley to water the squattocracy and their horses on the way to the Black Soil Plains. But, wedged between Scone's thoroughbred horse studs and Muswellbrook's coalmines, Aberdeen these days is a hardscrabble town saddled with the twin notoriety of Wiggins's death and being the birthplace of Katherine Knight, the first Australian woman to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 2001 for killing her partner.
Wiggins's sister, Glenda Hughes, hoped the publicity surrounding her nephew's win in France might stir consciences in Aberdeen.
''I'm hoping that what Bradley is doing will stir something in someone to come forward and tell us what happened in that house,'' said Mrs Hughes, from Victoria.
After being found in Segenhoe Street, Aberdeen, Wiggins died the following day in Newcastle. He was 55 and had been estranged from his now famous son for years. A ne'er-do-well tearaway drunk and drug user who sported a teardrop tattoo beneath one of his eyes, he ended up as a painter in Muswellbrook.
Four decades earlier, Wiggins was a professional champion who represented Australia at various world titles and won national titles in the one kilometre time trial and 4000 metres team pursuit in 1977.
He moved to Britain in 1976 and raced on the Continent for nine years but gained a reputation both as a hard party-goer and for supplying amphetamines to fellow racers.
Along the way, he married an English woman, Linda, and they had a son, Bradley, who was born in Ghent in 1980. He abandoned his family and returned to Australia but by the mid-1980s racing ceased and Wiggins drifted.
He did not see his son for 14 years. But in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Sydney Bradley Wiggins visited his father.
In his autobiography In Pursuit of Glory, Wiggins junior remembers his trip up the New England Highway.
''Most of his days would consist of buying a couple of crates of VBs … and steadily drinking himself into a stupor,'' Wiggins said of his traumatic visit to the Hunter Valley.
Once his father went to watch his son compete. ''By the end of my race he was surrounded by a pile of tinnies, hammered and … telling me what I had done wrong and how he would have won,'' Bradley wrote.
They never saw each other again. When they cleaned out Gary Wiggins's flat, relatives found scrapbooks full of clippings about his son's career.