Olympic men's time trial: Bradley Wiggins wins to seal his place in history, Chris Froome takes bronze

Only Tony Martin manages to separate British pair on the podium, defending champion Cancellara well off the pace

by Simon_MacMichael   August 1, 2012  

London 2012 medals

Bradley Wiggins has this afternoon won the fourth Olympic gold medal of his career, and his first on the road, as he dominated the individual time trial. Once added to his one silver and two bronze medals, he has seven in total and becomes Great Britain's most successful Olympian in any sport by total medals won.

World champion Tony Martin of Germany finished second, more than half a minute behind Wiggins, with Great Britain's Chris Froome clinching bronze. Defending champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland was in touch with the fastest times early on but subsequently fell off the pace, and following the finish was clearly in pain from the shoulder he injured in a crash in Saturday's road race.

In any other year, Wiggins’ exploits in becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France would have seen him make a succession of appearances on chat shows and breakfast television sofas.

With last Saturday’s Olympic road race taking place less than a week after his victory in that race was confirmed in Paris, however, after spending a day or so with his family he was straight into lockdown mode with Great Britain’s other road cyclists, and he was one of the four British riders who dug in deep at the weekend as they tried in vain to set up Mark Cavendish to take gold.

Despite the setback of seeing the race run away from them when that group got away on the last lap of the Box Hill circuit, Wiggins then turned his attention to racing for gold himself today with the same consummate professionalism that has underpinned a stunningly successful season.

Now his Olympic obligations have been fulfilled, the Bradley Wiggins show is set to begin. It should be a cracker, and it will take something very special over the next ten days of the Olympics for him not to follow Hoy and Cavendish as BBC Sports Personality of the Year. A visit to Buckingham Palace to receive a knighthood is possible, some would say certain.

It was Martin, not Wiggins, who had set the quickest time at the first intermediate check on today’s 44 kilometre course that was centred on another royal palace, Hampton Court, but those who have followed the British rider’s progress this season knew there was no undue cause for alarm.

Undefeated in time trials longer than prologue distance during 2012, when Wiggins has trailed rivals early on he has continued to ride his own pace and has built a winning advantage well before the finish.

In the two longer time trials in the Tour de France, both of which Martin missed after fracturing a bone in his wrist, with Cancellara absent for the second due to his wife being about to give birth, Wiggins set the fastest time at the first check before pulling away closer to the finish.

In both of those stages, Froome confirmed his time trialling ability by finishing second to Wiggins, a far cry from his world championship debut in 2006 in the colours of his native Kenya, best remembered for his rolling off the starting ramp straight into a UCI official.

He may still be teased about that episode, but once again today, he confirmed his strength in this discipline with a flawless ride from start to finish.

Cancellara and Martin were were seen as Wiggins’ most likely rivals for gold today, but questions surrounded their fitness. Martin, who missed part of the season after being hit by a car while training in April, had looked strong in the Tour before being forced to withdraw.

Cancellara, meanwhile, shattered his collarbone in a freak crash during the Tour of Flanders but returned to take the Tour de France Prologue and would hold the maillot jaune for a week before Wiggins took it off him.

The Swiss rider had looked well placed in the break to challenge for gold in Saturday’s road race until his rear wheel slid from beneath him on a corner, sending him into the barriers, and after finishing today the best part of three minutes behind Wiggins, he was clearly in a lot of pain from those injuries as he received treatment.

Wiggins himself looked anxious after finishing as though he could not quite believe that with Cancellara the only man still out on the road, the gold medal was his, joining  the two he has previously won in the individual pursuit plus one in the team pursuit.

Once Cancellara had come home though, Wiggins began to celebrate – but only after first locating his wife Cath and their children, there to witness his triumph even if they are not yet able to comprehend the scale of what their father, so often missing through training or racing, has achieved.

The first time check today, taken at 7.3 kilometres, saw Martin go through five seconds quicker than Wiggins, with Cancellara less than a second behind the eventual winner.

Taylor Phinney of the USA posted the fourth quickest time, the same as the position he would finish in, with Froome leapfrogging the American by the second time check, as well as Cancellara as his challenge began to fade. With more than half of the 44 kilometres still to ride, the podium positions had already been settled.

While it was a memorable day for Wiggins, Froome and British fans, who packed the roadside to cheer the pair all along the route, it was an utterly forgettable one for one man who must have harboured dreams of taking a medal as he waited to roll off the starting ramp at Hampton Court Palace, Luis Leon Sanchez.

The Spaniard’s chain broke the moment he began his first pedal stroke, catching the occupants of his team car unawares, and any chance of mounting a challenge today evaporated as he waited for a replacement bike. His misery would be added to later as he needed a rear wheel change, apparently as a result of a puncture.

Today's win by Wiggins caps a heady few weeks for cycling in Britain, and there could well be more to come as Olympic action switches to the velodrome tomorrow, where Sir Chris Hoy could join him on seven medals, and Sir Steve Redgrave on five golds, as he goes in the team sprint. The Scot is also racing in the keirin and could therefore be out on his own ahead of both Wiggins and Redgrave by this time next week.

“I cannot put it into words, I wouldn't do it justice – it’s really incredible to win an Olympic gold in your home city,” Wiggins said afterwards.

“When you win in the velodrome there are three or four thousand people cheering. Here, around the streets of London, the noise is just amazing. I don't think anything will top that. It's just been phenomenal."

Reflecting on his moment on the podium, he added: "I was trying to savour it.  I have no memories of my other Olympics. I was either too young or it was over too quick. There is not much better than this setting, with that castle [Hampton Court Palace], it's so British, isn't it? The sun came out, it was just fantastic.

“It had to be gold today or nothing. What's the point of seven medals if they're not the right colour? Mainly it's about the four golds. Now I have to go to Rio and go for five.

“Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Chris Hoy is an absolute honour and to be up there with those guys as a British Olympian, it’s very special.”

Olympic men's time trial  

1   WIGGINS Bradley       Great Britain       50:39.5
2   MARTIN Tony           Germany             51:21.5
3   FROOME Chris          Great Britain       51:47.9
4   PHINNEY Taylor        USA                 52:38.1
5   PINOTTI Marco         Italy               52:49.3
6   ROGERS Michael        Australia           52:51.4
7   CANCELLARA Fabian     Switzerland         52:53.7
8   GRABSCH Bert          Germany             53:18.0
9   CASTROVIEJO Jonathan  Spain               53:29.4
10  BRAJKOVIC Janez       Slovenia            54:09.7
11  WESTRA Lieuwe         Netherlands         54:19.6
12  KIRYIENKA Vasil       Belarus             54:30.3
13  BOASSON HAGEN Edvald  Norway              54:30.9
14  BAK Lars              Denmark             54:33.2
15  FUGLSANG Jakob        Denmark             54:34.5
16  LARSSON Gustav        Sweden              54:35.3
17  GILBERT Philippe      Belgium             54:40.0
18  OLIVEIRA Nelson       Portugal            54:41.6
19  BAUER Jack            New Zealand         54:54.2
20  MENCHOV Denis         Russia              54:59.3

19 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Get in. Result.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3083 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:17

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excellent results in the cycling so far all things considered

here's hoping it continues

posted by mad_scot_rider [544 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:19

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How big is this?

Absolutely MASSIVE!

Paris-Nice, Romandy, Dauphine, Tour de France (including 2 TT stage wins and wearing the yellow jersey for 13 consecutive stages) and now Olympic gold.

Try naming any other cyclist of the modern era who has done all those in one season.

Also, Team Sky twitter claims Wiggins has now become the most successful British Olympian of all time with seven medals. A Guardian blog entry attempting to say how significant this latter fact is.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1941 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:23

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The problem with him becoming the most successful British Olympian is that's going to be overtaken by Hoy on the track Wink

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posted by Gkam84 [8799 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:31

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What a time Big Grin

FANTASTIC result for Wiggins and I'm glad that Froome got a medal as well.

GO Team GB.... Cool

posted by ads2k [41 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:36

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Congrats to the medalists! Wiggins and Froome show their tour de force once again...sad that Taylor couldn't medal but just shows how hard the top 3 rode.

"because a goal without a plan is just a wish"

posted by bikeyourbest [23 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:37

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Excellent results for all there. The GB guys have done great and also the lasses on two wheels - I hope now that the respect apparent from the general public follows cyclists onto the roads.

WELL DONE!

Regards,

Trikeman. Wink

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

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posted by trikeman [355 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:44

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A worthy winner.

Congrats to Chris Froome as well.

Brilliant result for Team GB. Brailsford might even crack a smile Surprise

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posted by mingmong [191 posts]
1st August 2012 - 16:44

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"Brailsford might even crack a smile." I hope he cracks open the bubbly! And that he gets some recognition for all the terrific work he's done over the last few years. Sir Brad for sure. Why not Sir Dave as well? Big Grin

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [63 posts]
1st August 2012 - 18:46

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And here's another thing ...... Brad won the TT by almost a second per kilometre. How good is that?!!!?!!

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [63 posts]
1st August 2012 - 18:49

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As Trikeman says. - I hope now that the respect apparent from the general public follows cyclists onto the roads.
We can but hope.

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [583 posts]
1st August 2012 - 18:59

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Really feel for Phinney, it must be killing him to have finished 4th in BOTH the road race and time trial, really unlucky to not get a medal. Next time.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
1st August 2012 - 19:13

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A BMW driver just let me out at a junction. That's never happened before. Coincidence?

I can't see it lasting, though. I think it's just a one-day-only deal.

posted by Mat Brett [1856 posts]
1st August 2012 - 20:13

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Amazing result , what a year, Now Lombardia... :0))))

posted by CarbonBreaker [79 posts]
1st August 2012 - 21:03

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congratulations to both Brad and Chris. Awesome achievement and may it continue on the track too

Do feel a bit for Chris though as most of the sites i've looked at barely mention his achievement today. couple of lines at most towards the bottom of the page. On the BBC for example it lists British gymnasts NOT getting a medal higher than Chris' bronze FFS!!

Team Sky website isn't much better.

posted by fretters [30 posts]
1st August 2012 - 22:10

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3 thoughts:

1. Stunning performance by Bradley. "The form of his life" really isn't a cliche in this case.

2. (per some of the comments above) Chris Froome has been overlooked in the coverage. In any other circumstances, his recent performances would be feted as being truly exceptional. I'm really enjoying Bradley's personality, but it's a shame that Chris F. has been somewhat eclipsed.

3. Perhaps I've missed this in today's coverage, but what was Bradley riding in the TT today? Did not look like the (Sky) team issue Pinarello Graal. Looked more like a track bike. Good to see that, despite the lack of 'latest and greatest' features on his bike (crikey - you could even see the brakes!), he still smashed it. Just wondering if he was riding a Team GB issue bike, or whether this is a new Pinarello frame (seems unlikely). Given Bradley's apparently preference for very particular set-ups, it seemed odd that he'd be on a different set-up, just over a week after dominating the last TT of the TdF on a Graal. Thinking

posted by RPMed [2 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 0:18

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I was pretty certain that Tony Martin had this one in the bag; he did not go too mad in the Tour and retired early in the road race... I thought this was carefully calculated. For Bradley to keep it together after the pressures and duties of a Tour winner....awesome. Bradley for world champion in september anyone? What about a Bradley/Mark double for the road race and TT? What is that you say? Me? Getting carried away? Surely not!

posted by SideBurn [787 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 3:43

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Awesome awesome awesome. Although plenty of media reports that Brad is unbeaten in TT this year - didn't Cancellera win the Tour prologue?

posted by dkramsay [11 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 9:19

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ah - my question re Wiggo's TT bike has now been answered by a new article on this excellent website. Cool

posted by RPMed [2 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 11:55

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