Sir Bradley Wiggins says that breaking the UCI Hour record, which he shattered in London this evening, “tops off” his career.
A potential fifth Olympic gold medal in Rio next year, when he is aiming to ride the team pursuit, may yet make him reconsider that statement.
But for 60 minutes, he set the velodrome at the Lee Valley VeloPark alight as he rode 54.526km to beat Alex Dowsett’s record of 52.937km by more than 6 laps.
He was watched by a capacity crowd including former Tour de France champion and Hour record holder Miguel Indurain.
Also there were Wiggins' children Ben and Bella and his wife, Cath.
With his family on his mind, he said afterwards: "I'm glad it's done. That's the closest I will come to knowing what it's like to have a baby.
"It's tortuous. It's such a relief and was such a build-up. We've been through so much, my wife and children know so much about air pressure now"
"It's done now. I always compare myself to the greats and I am just glad to be in the company of those guys.
“To get up there and do that ... to put yourself on the line takes a lot of courage and it's a mental game as much as anything."
Some may have achieved more on the road – Indurain won the Tour de France a record-equalling five times, and also held the world and Olympic time trial titles at the same time, as Wiggins currently does.
Others have won more on the track – Sir Chris Hoy, with his six Olympic gold medals, for example.
Meanwhile, some of the greats of the past – Fausto Coppi, another Grand Tour winner who held the Hour Record – were denied the chance to go for Olympic gold because of rules barring professionals, now overturned.
It’s hard to deny though that Wiggins – one of only two British cyclists to have worn the leader’s jersey in all three Grand Tours, and after Hoy, the country’s most successful Olympian in any sport, is one of the country’s true sporting greats.
Asked about the scale of today’s achievement, he said: "It tops it off. To do everything and come here as an old man, I had such great memories here [at the Eastway circuit, built over for the Olympics] as a kid and to come here ... It's memorable."
The capacity crowd cheered him on from start to finish. Wiggins said: "It's so difficult to block the noise out. They put a playlist of music together that I had to okay and I couldn't hear anything.”
Tickets for the event cost £50 – you could easily pay more to watch Arsenal or Chelsea against a struggling Premier League side and have a far worse view and no sense of being present when history was being made – and Wiggins added: "I thank everyone for coming and putting their hands in their pocket."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.