Despite being an Olympic Gold medallist, a world champion and a UCI Hour Record holder, until Thursday night in Grenchen Bradley Wiggins was missing an European Track Champion gold medal. Victory in the team pursuit gold medal ride against Switzerland saw Wiggins add the medal to his palmares and demonstrate Great Britain are on course for another medal in the discipline come August next year at the Rio Games.
Wiggins was joined by Andy Tennant, Owain Doull and Jon Dibben in the final as the quartet rode the 4000 metres in a time of 3:55.243 with Switzerland almost two seconds back in 3:57.245. With Tennant making for Gibson in the morning session before returning for the gold medal final and Dibben replacing Steven Burke after also missing the morning ride, Wiggins explained there was lots of experimentation with the team but they managed to find the winning combination.
"It was really good. We had three tough rides in three days and two rides today. I think we tried so many different combinations we are just so pleased to get three good rides in with three different riders, we tried everyone, and to record a time like that in a final ... everyone was really happy," Wiggins told British Cycling after the medal ceremony.
Tennant and Ed Clancy, missing the Euros through back injury, had ridden in Great Britain's four previous gold medal successes while Burke had ridden in three finals and Doull two. Wiggins, who along with 19-year-old Gibson won the the gold medal for the first time, added that while the absence of Clancy was felt by the team, they were able to to defend their title and keep national coach Hieko Salzwedel content with the Track World Championships in London the last big test before August's Olympic Games in Rio.
"Obviously we're missing Ed Clancy, he's been a big part of the team, and we are European champions and we've achieved the goal so Hieko is happy," Wiggins added.
Adding to Great Britain's success was the triumph of the women's team who proved too good for Russia in the ride for gold as they caught them with several laps to go.
"It's so rare – we've never had a catch where we’ve continued on riding," Katie Archibald said of the final, adding that coach, "Paul [Manning] had said to us beforehand that he wants us to do three full rides and we all kinda went, 'Really?'"
After day 2 of the championships, Great Britain sits top of the medal tally with two golds while Poland and Germany lead the medal count with three each so far. The men's sprint and points race final's will be held on Day 3 while the women contest the scratch and sprint finals.