Just one week after winning the Tour de France, Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins confirmed his status as a cycling legend by winning the time-trial at the London Olympics.
The charismatic Londoner rocketed around the roads of Surrey, a seemingly effortless style belying his terrific speed: Wiggins averaged 52kph over the 44km course.
As the event neared its climax Wiggins’s compatriot, and runner-up at the Tour, Chris Froome set an outstanding time of 51minutes 47 seconds – almost a minute quicker than the rest of the field. With just a handful of riders left to set a time, only the world time-trial champion, Germany’s Tony Martin, and Wiggins managed to finish faster than Froome.
Martin completed the 44km in a blistering 51 minutes 21 seconds, but his time was soon obliterated by Wiggins who crossed the line after just 50 minutes and 39 seconds. Only the reigning Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara could have knocked Wiggins off his throne, but the Swiss rider only managed the seventh best time, leaving the new king of cycling punching the air with delight.
The huge crowds were enthusiastic and noisy all along the course, but in the start and finish area at Hampton Court Palace the scenes of support, and subsequently celebration, were reminiscent of a top football match. As Wiggins went for a celebratory ride back down the finishing straight the Team GB fans, many sporting fake sideburns, jumped the barriers and engulfed their new sporting hero.
Wiggins is now the most decorated athlete in British Olympic history having won seven medals during his Olympic career. The time-trial success earned Bradley his fourth gold, which he can hang alongside medals won in Beijing, Athens and Sydney. Despite this record the 32-year-old is still not satisfied. He remarked to the press after the medal ceremony: “I have got to carry on to Rio now and make it five.”
While this may be his next long term goal, Wiggins was less clear about his short term future. In his typically honest style, Bradley confessed that his whole life had been meticulously planned up until August 1, 2012. Now he had no plans at all, except to spend time with his family. He even let slip that this would mainly involve lying on his sofa sipping white wine.
Well, he’s certainly earned the right to put his feet up after completing the most successful season in British cycling history. Bravo Wiggo!
By Alex Kay: follow me on Twitter @alexkayuk