Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) wound the clock back eight years with an emphatic victory in the Madison at the UCI Track World Championships in London. The victory was a flashback to their last joint world title when they won the Madison on home soil in 2008.
"The boys timed it so well and this is right up there. It brings everything together for them. It's a special moment for the guys and the team. What a spectacle," Great Britain's Technical Director Shane Sutton told Cyclingnews after the race.
There was plenty of action from the start with several teams taking a lap on the field in the opening stages. Cavendish and Wiggins remained in the group, racking up the points in each of the sprints. When they did finally make their move inside the final 20 laps along with Spain, they had earned enough points to send themselves straight to the top of the standings.
"They had the same idea, they weren't doing it to help us win the world title. They were strong and it was perfect, we said before the race if we could get a lap with the Spanish we wouldn't go far wrong. We needed their help to get the lap. It was just magical," Wiggins said after the race. "We had this plan, we went though it, rack up points if we could but don't go crazy for points because it's always won on laps. So we picked quite a few points. We tried a few attacks, they kept following us, then we got the gap and that was it then.
"You couldn't have written a better script in the last 30 to get the lap again. It was like deja vu to eight years ago."
The deafening roar from the crowd that accompanied the riders on their lap changed to a noise of concern as, soon after they re-joined the field, Cavendish hit the deck on one of the corners. The Manxman was quickly up on his feet, however, as if spring loaded and was soon back on his bike.
There were a number of moves in the final laps, but Cavendish and Wiggins had done enough to secure themselves the gold medal.
"I didn't know he'd fallen off, I was like cheeky little… I kept looking for him thinking this has been a long turn, and I thought he needed a lap out - I didn't realise he'd crashed. I was out of it by them, foaming at the mouth the last 10 laps."
The rainbow jersey will be Cavendish's third world title on the track – all of which have come in the Madison discipline – while it is Wiggins' seventh on the boards. It is Wiggins' final season as a professional and he decided to celebrate his last time on the London velodrome by kissing the track.
Asked if they would consider riding a Six Day event together, Wiggins said, "We have to now. It'll be like the old days, [Eddy] Merckx and [Patrick] Sercu. I'll have to put my retirement back a bit."