Bradley Wiggins solidified the most significant month in the history of British cycling on August 1 when he claimed men’s Olympic time trial at Hampton Court Palace, London.
Wiggins finished ahead of reigning time trial world champion Tony Martin of Germany by 42 seconds and countryman Chris Froome to secure his fourth gold and seventh medal of his Olympic career as a road and track rider
Wiggins, 32, became Great Britain’s first Tour de France winner slightly more than a week ago. American Taylor Phinney finished fourth in the time trial just as he did last Sunday in the road race.
Wiggins’s victory in his home country also solidified his position as a titlist with great sportsmanship qualities. The leader of Sky team in the Tour de France, Wiggins’s often displayed his sportsmanship in the Grand Tour, the stage race format in which important things happen quickly. A small gesture between teammates or competitors can be as significant as the glory of a solo stage win.
While pedaling toward Paris to become the first British winner, Bradley Wiggins has provided several significant fleeting moments in this year’s race, most notably in stages 11, 13, 14 and 18. Combined, his actions lasted only seconds. But they represented why Wiggins is a champion his country can embrace.
Wiggins’s panache began in stage 11, the race’s second day in the Alps. As Wiggins, then the race leader for five days, crossed the line, he placed his hand on the back of Vincenzo Nibali to acknowledge the third-place Italian’s strong performance.
The duo has a competitive history. Earlier in the race, Nibali had explained to the media that he’d felt Wiggins had disrespected him at the end of another stage. But Wiggins eased the tension with his acknowledgment of Nibali. The Italian was momentarily caught off guard and then reciprocated.
Wiggins showed his class again two days later. While Norwegian teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen, a sprinting specialist, was vying for a strong position at the end of stage 13, Wiggins moved to the head of the field and towed Hagen toward the line. It was an unusual yet smart move. Wiggins avoided potential crashes and simultaneously repaid a teammate who had supported him for days.
In stage 14, after the route’s final climb had been sabotaged with tacks, and defending race titlist Cadel Evans flatted, Wiggins again took charge. He motioned for the peloton to slow down while Evans’s teammates helped the defending race title holder back to the field, following a 90-second delay. Wiggins later commented: “No one wants to benefit from someone’s misfortune.”
And in stage 18, Wiggins wen to the front of the field again in the final two miles to help teammate Mark Cavendish pedal to another sprint stage win
Wiggins’s displays were the moves of a sporting hero. The three-time Olympic gold medalist says he’s not comfortable being the boss of the peloton. But there are no better examples of actions speaking louder than words.
Which he again proved when dominated the Olympic time trial to become a hero all over again.
Men’s time trial
Top 10 Results
1. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), 50:39.54; 2. Tony Martin (Germany), @ 42.00; 3. Christopher Froome (Great Britain), 1:08.33; 4. Taylor Phinney (United States), 1:58.53; 5. Marco Pinotti (Italy), 2:09.74; 6. Michael Rogers (Australia), 2:11.85; 7. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), 2:14.17; 8. Bert Grabsch (Germany), 2:38.50; 9. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain), 2:49.82; 10. Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia), 3:30.18.