Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) will look to make history on Wednesday as he aims to win the gold medal in the Olympic Games time trial. A medal of any kind would not only make Wiggins a medallist on both track and road, but it would also see him overhaul Steve Redgrave's British Olympic tally.
Wiggins has already won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in his Olympic career but after such a dominant season against the clock, he will start as the favourite for Wednesday's event.
Wiggins has only tasted victory in time trials [excluding prologues] so far this year with wins in the Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France. His final two victories in the individual time trials at this year's Tour appear to have given the 32-year-old the necessary belief to claim gold.
"I think going back to the Tour, to that first press conference in Liège, this is one hour, so that's the baseline of worst-case scenario and pressure and expectation lying ahead of you and we handled that pretty well, so an hour time trial to make history should be a doddle," he told reporters.
"That Tour de France is such a boot camp for this. This should be a piece of piss in terms of expectations and pressure. It's just an hour not three weeks so it's been the best preparation."
Wiggins's dominance in both the Besançon and Chartres time trials saw him beat the majority of his rivals for Wednesday, including Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin. Both the Swiss and German have proven pedigrees against the clock but Wiggins's focus has remained on his performance and the numbers he's churned out in both training and racing as he looks to continue his Tour form.
"Not a lot changes now, from Saturday [Chartres time trial] to next week as long as I've done the right things, like I have. I've recovered well, I've kept riding, I've not got sick. Nothing is going to change between those nine days so the confidence is going to be sky high."
Both Cancellara and Martin have had mixed fortunes throughout the season. The former enjoyed a rich vein of form in the spring before crashing out and breaking a collarbone. He recovered to win the prologue in the Tour – beating Wiggins into second place – but was outclassed in Besançon before quitting the race early after the birth of his second child. During Saturday's road race, Cancellara again appeared in decent condition before a serious crash ruled him out of the race. He will start on Wednesday.
Martin has also had a mixed year. After winning the world time trial championships last year commentators expected the German to dominate time trials in the future. However, illness and a lack of condition have seen him win just two tests against the clock this year. Wiggins's main rivals may yet prove to be teammate Chris Froome and America's Taylor Phinney.
"Tony had no choice leaving the Tour, he broke his wrist or whatever,” Wiggins said. “Fabian had another child and family circumstances but I don't know if he'd already planned to pull out. At the end of the day, it's what they've done and the race will tell that decision. The main thing is that I'm on track and that's really all that matters in this camp and I'll go out there and do the performance I've done so well in the time trials that I've done. We'll see if it's good enough on the day. I can't predict what they're going to do.
"The benchmark is there from Chartres and nothing will change from that performance to Wednesday and I've 100 per cent faith that the training Tim [Kerrison] has set me. Also I think at this stage it's more mental than physical and I think I've done enough now to realise that it's not all going to collapse on Tuesday night and that I'm going to be a pile of shit on Wednesday. My performances have been so consistent that I've got no reason to think that's going to change. That comes with age and experience.”
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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