Bradley Wiggins and co win gold medal for Great Britain as they dramatically edge Australia and set new world record in Team pursuit at Rio 2016
- Team GB beat Australia in the final of the Team pursuit at the Rio 2016 Olympics to win the gold medal
- Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Doull delivered a world-record breaking display
- Wiggins has now won five Olympic gold medals and is arguably Great Britain's greatest-ever athlete
- What's more incredible is that his eight Olympic medals do not represent his finest achievement
- Australia's Jack Bobridge, Alexander Edmondson Michael Hepburn and Sam Welsford took the silver
He wanted to be the hero, Mark Cavendish suggested rather mischievously earlier this week, and on Friday night Sir Bradley Wiggins got his wish, securing a fifth Olympic gold medal in dramatic fashion as part of a triumphant British team pursuit quartet.
It was also the eighth medal of a personal haul that began with a bronze in Sydney 16 years ago and certainly puts him in the mix for the title of Britain’ s Greatest Olympian; possibly even the greatest athlete the country has ever produced.
A measure of Wiggins’ considerable talent is the fact that his exploits at five Olympic Games do not even represent his finest achievement. That, without question, is becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012.
(From L-R) Edward Clancy, Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Bradley Wiggins won gold for Team GB in the Team pursuit
Wiggins led Great Britain to gold in truly incredible fashion as they worked tremendously hard to beat Australia
Wiggins has now won five Olympic gold medals and eight in total, his first being a bronze at Sydney 2000
Wiggins was not the only hero in Brazil: Clancy, Burke and Doull all contributed to the continuation of Team GB dominance
Wiggins (right) and Doull celebrate their unbelievable success at the Velodrome in Rio
Beyond that there are also the eight world titles, and the fact that he has an incredible range of ability that has enabled him to conquer the world’s best cyclists on the track, in the time trial and across the Alps and the Pyrenees. Never mind the iconic hour record he set last year.
Rarely has the engine that sits inside that long, gangly, tattooed frame been better designed in the human form, and it is that astonishing combination of power and efficiency that, even at 36, has allowed him to return to his track roots at the end of his career and perform at this level.
He did not win Friday's final against Australia on his own, of course, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Doull also proving themselves brilliant riders and extending Great Britain’s dominance in the event to three consecutive Olympic Games.
Australia led for much of the final and looked like they were going to upset Team GB at the Velodrom in Rio De Janeiro
Team GB qualified three and a half seconds quicker than any other team in qualifying for the first round
On Thursday they qualified three and a half seconds quicker than any other team, and in the first round proper on Friday they booked their place in the final by bettering the world record the British team set at London 2012; by more than a second in a stunning time of 3.50.570. In a quite incredible final against Australia, one Great Britain only hit the front in with 500m to go, the world record went again with Wiggins driving the team from the front to the line.
For Clancy this was a third Olympic gold, for Burke a second. Doull, just 23 and from Cardiff, is the new boy but another product of the amazing British Cycling production line.
Clancy is a brilliant story in himself, the red-hot red-haired pursuit rider returning from a chronic back issue that very nearly ended any chance he had of being here in the Velodrome on Friday night.
When he eventually recovered from surgery, required after slipping a disc when attempting to pick up a suitcase, his coaches would have to lift him onto his bike because he could not manage it on his own. As recently as the start of this year he was having to travel to training in Manchester lying down in a van because he was unable to sit. Even now his bike has to be specially modified because he cannot sit in such an aggressive position.
Clancy won his third Olympic gold, Burke his second, while Doull is the latest huge talent to emerge for British cycling
Clearly, those new bikes and skinsuits also do their job. But for yet another Olympics the British team have timed it to perfection, the sight of both Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner breaking the Olympic record over the flying 200m in sprint qualifying further evidence of that. Kenny rode a blistering 9.551secs, and while the races themselves are tactical, less predictable, affairs don’t be surprised if we see a repeat of Beijing in 2008 with two Britons in the sprint final.
There was further evidence, too, of the soap opera behind the success, and the tension that emerged earlier this week between Wiggins and Cavendish.
Cavendish is angered by the influence Wiggins has alongside the coaches with the team pursuit squad and appears to blame him for the decision not to let him ride in any of the qualifying rounds, so denying him the opportunity to secure that elusive first Olympic medal before he begins to contest the omnium on Sunday.
Mark Cavendish suggested that Wiggins wanted to be the hero in Rio, and the pair don't exactly see eye-to-eye
The issue between two of the biggest personalities in Team GB first came to the surface when Cavendish gave that provocative television interview at the start of the week and appeared to remain a problem when Cavendish did not show for a second night to perform his reserve rider duties by warming up with the team. One newspaper blog said he had refused to come, Ciara Horne’s presence as a reserve for the British women the previous night adding credence to the accusation.
Cavendish posted a tweet mocking the report and British Cycling moved to clarify the situation, with head coach Iain Dyer insisting it was ‘b*****ks’ and making the point that Horne does not have another event to prepare for.
‘If I thought Cav needed to be here he would be here,’ said Dyer. ‘We had no plans to change the team.’
Understandably so given how quick they were on Friday.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-3737940/Bradley-Wiggins-claim-gold-medal-Great-Britain-Team-pursuit-Rio-2016-Olympics.html#ixzz4H9wlI1Eu
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