Bradley Wiggins' hopes of a podium place in the World Championships time trial on Thursday in Mendrisio, Switzerland, ended with a mechanical problem seven kilometres from the finish. The British rider finished 4:50 behind winner Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) to finish a disappointing 21st place.
"I dropped my chain at the bottom of the climb," said Wiggins. It forced his brake calliper, mounted below his chain stay, to rub on his rear wheel.
"I did the climb, I didn't want to change [the wheel] at the bottom. I jumped off my bike at the top without knowing the car wasn't there."
Wiggins lost time while his team car waited behind following rider Gustav Erik Larsson (Sweden). At the time, Wiggins was already out of contention for a gold or silver medal, but fighting for bronze with Tony Martin (Germany).
Cancellara was dominant en route to his third time trial world title. He caught Larsson in the first lap and Wiggins, who started two minutes ahead, on the second of three laps. He won by 1:27 over Larsson and 2:30 over Martin.
"It is not a surprise," said Wiggins of Cancellara's dominance. "This morning, I thought if I could finish about two minutes behind Fabian that would be all right. That is kind of the time gap you are looking at for that distance."
Prior to the mechanical issues on the final climb, Wiggins admitted that had eased off after being passed by Cancellara. He said he had felt the Swiss rider's slipstream assisted him, even if he was following at distance ruled fair by race commissares.
"I thought 'I am just going to sit up, this is no way to win the bronze.' I felt like I was cheating a bit...The same [thing] with Larsson; I don't think he is a worthy silver medallist. Tony Martin is a silver medallist for me."
Wiggins, who finished fourth overall at this year's Tour de France, will now head home to England before he ends his season with the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia. He chose to skip Sunday's road race earlier this month, a decision he remains happy with.
"I am done, mentally. The time trial was enough of a focus. Since the Tour it was a good goal, but the thought of 19-laps is something else."
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