Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins is endeavouring to continue his excellent time-trial form as he looks to win a fourth Olympic gold medal.
The 32-year-old – along with fellow British Cycling member Chris Froome – will go against the clock for a medal on the 44km route which starts and finishes at Hampton Court on Wednesday. On his way to becoming Britain’s first winner of the Tour de France, Wiggins was imperious in winning the two individual time-trials after finishing second in the opening prologue.
Gold medals on track in Athens in 2004 (individual pursuit) and Beijing in 2008 (individual and team pursuit) in addition to a silver and two bronze medals make the Team Sky rider one of Britain’s greatest Olympians and success on the banks of the River Thames would be the perfect way to follow his historic Tour win.
“Confidence is sky high that we’re going to be in the ballpark,” said Wiggins, who competed in Saturday’s 240km men’s road race. “Nothing changes really, there is no need to test. The benchmark is there really from Saturday in Chartres [in the Tour de France] so nothing is going to change from that performance to Wednesday.
"I’ll go out there and do the performance I have done so well all year in time-trials and see if it is good enough on the day."
“I have 100% faith in the training [Team Sky's Head of Performance Support] Tim (Kerrison) has set me and it is more mental than physical. I think that I have done enough now to realise that there is no reason it is suddenly all going to collapse on Tuesday night. My performances all year have been consistent so I have no reason to think that is going to change.”
Current Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara represents one of Wiggins’ biggest obstacles to a medal on home soil, though the Swiss rider – who withdrew early from the Tour de France to focus on retaining his title - crashed during Saturday’s road race, fortunately avoiding any serious injury. World champion Tony Martin, another threat to Wiggins, withdrew from the Tour after breaking his wrist, his form an unknown coming to London.
“I don’t know, it’s tough to say,” Wiggins said on whether his two key rivals will have an advantage from the extra rest.
“Tony had no choice - he broke his wrist so that’s what he had to do, to go home. Fabian had another child, family circumstances and things. I don’t know whether he had already planned to pull out.
“At the end of the day it is what they have done, the race will tell whether that is the right decision. The main thing is I am on track and that is all that really matters in this camp. I’ll go out there and do the performance I have done so well all year in time-trials and see if it is good enough on the day. What I can’t predict is what they’re going to do.”
Alongside Wiggins for Team GB is Chris Froome, the Team Sky rider was only ousted by teammate Wiggins in the two Tour de France individual time-trials and believes the course is well suited to his colleague, though he harbours medal ambitions of his own.
“Brad I think is in the perfect stead for that and the course suits him really well,” Froome said.
“That would be phenomenal for me if I could be up there in the standings but I’m not too sure what my opposition is coming here like. I know that guys like Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara pulled out of the Tour early to focus on this. All I can do really is go in there and give it my best shot.”
The men’s Olympic time-trial beings at 2.15pm on Wednesday 1 August.