London 2012: Wiggins wins Olympic time trial

AP, Wednesday 1 Aug 2012

Wiggins wins Olympic cycling gold at the London Games

Bradley Wiggins sealed his place in British Olympic history on Wednesday when he won the gold medal in the men's time trial at the London Games.

The 32-year-old Londoner powered his way to victory on the 44-kilometer course south of London to win his seventh Olympic medal, taking over the British record he shared with former rowing great Steve Redgrave.

Wiggins, who became the first British rider to win the Tour de France last month, won his fourth Olympic gold medal after winning three titles in Athens and Beijing - in individual and team pursuit.

Wiggins covered the course in 50 minutes, 39.54 seconds, beating silver medalist Tony Martin of Germany by 42 seconds. Tour runner-up Christopher Froome of Britain claimed the bronze, capping off a phenomenal summer for British road cycling.

After breaking his collarbone during last year's Tour, he came back stronger than ever and has been nearly invincible this season, especially in long time trials where he is unbeaten in 2012.

The time trial is often called the race of truth and at the end it was the strongest rider who came out on top.

Wiggins was second to last of the 37 riders to roll down the ramp and was second at the first time check, after 7.3 kilometers, trailing Tony Martin by five seconds.

The flat nature of the course taking the riders on narrow roads in Surrey perfectly suited Wiggins, who carried his former pursuit specialist skills into his favorite discipline when he quit track cycling after the Beijing Games.

Riding in the middle of a sea of British fans dressed in red, blue and white - some of them even sporting Wiggins' signature sideburns - the Tour champion stayed cool and kept going as he gradually step up the pace to post the best time at the second check point, at the 18.4-kilometer mark, 11 seconds ahead of Martin.

Wiggins, who this year dropped his pedaling cadence slightly to ride in a higher gear and gain power, showed no sign of fatigue from Saturday's road race and clocked the best time at the third intermediate before swallowing time trial specialist Luis Leon Sanchez of Spain, who had started the race 4:30 before the Briton.

Sanchez, a four time national champion in the time trial, had a problem with his bike chain on the starting ramp and had to change bikes after only 10 meters.

Sanchez's fortunes did not improve and the Spaniard had to change his bike again after an other mechanical problem as American Taylor Phinney overtook him a few kilometers later.

Wiggins continued to pedal with rhythmic and aerodynamic discipline to triumph with a monarch authority at Hampton Court Palace, a former royal residence located on the banks on the river Thames.

Wiggins became the first rider to win the Tour and the Olympic time trial in the same year, extending his already impressive run of successes this season.

A few minutes after Wiggins crossed the finish line, Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the cyclist in a message posted to Twitter. Wiggins "is a true British hero. First the Tour (de France) and now Olympic Gold."

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