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Bradley Wiggins wins cycling’s first London 2012 gold in Men’s Time Trial while Froome claims bronze.
After Besançon and Chartres came London. The foundations of Bradley Wiggins’s Tour de France victory were laid in the first time trial stage and the yellow jersey was confirmed in the second. Today Wiggins made history by becoming the first rider to win the Tour and an Olympic gold medal in the same season.
The records don’t stop there. Victory in the time trial brought him the seventh Olympic medal of an extraordinary career that has seen him dominate in the velodrome and on the road. No other British athlete has a larger collection of Olympic medals. Sir Steve Redgrave, the legendary rower, has six, five of which are gold.
For Wiggins, who was appointed a Commander of the British Empire after winning two gold medals in Beijing, a knighthood must surely be only a matter of time. For the huge crowds who lined the 44-kilometre course that started and finished amid the splendor of Hampton Court Palace, Wiggins is already an icon of British sport. They came in their hundreds of thousands wearing his trademark sideburns and waving union flags. The wall of noise that greeted Wiggins and Chris Froome – a bronze medallist, let us not forget – marked a watershed moment in British cycling history.
It was a flawless performance from Wiggins who judged his effort perfectly. Going into today’s race, he had won all six of the time trials over ten kilometres that he had ridden this season, achieving a level of consistently high performance that few others could compete with.
Tony Martin, the German rider who won the silver medal, battled bravely. The reigning world champion beat Wiggins by more than a minute at the World Championships in Copenhagen last September but since then the British rider has improved his technique to turn the tables. You had to feel for Martin, who had such miserable luck in the Tour, puncturing in the prologue, crashing during the opening week and fracturing his wrist, which compromised his performance in Besançon.
But he put up a heroic fight, actually topping the leaderboard at the first checkpoint after 7.3 kilometres and then blasting round the course wiping away Froome’s impressive marker.
But as Wiggins swept round the circuit, Martin’s time wobbled, then fell and then was simply blown away. The margin of victory at the finish was emphatic – 42 seconds, a margin of almost a second a kilometre.
By the time all 37 riders had gone through the first checkpoint, the race had distilled into a contest between the eventual medallists, the defending Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara, Michel Rogers of Australia and Taylor Phinney of the United States.
Jonathan Castroviejo of Spain was the man who set the first serious time to beat and he occupied top spot on the leaderboard until the final ten riders began to come home. Michael Rogers of Australia was next to enjoy a brief few minutes when he could dream of winning a gold medal until Froome arrived at the line.
Froome, who finished second to Wiggins in both time trials at the Tour de France and eventually took second place overall too, beat Rogers by a minute and three seconds, which constituted a hammering over the course.
However, with so many accomplished time trial specialists still to come, the Kenyan-born British rider could not rest easy. One by one they came home outside his time. First Marco Pinotti, the multiple Italian time trial champion, then Phinney, who finished fourth in Saturday’s road race and was tipped to do a good ride.
Martin did knock Froome off top spot and then Wiggins bumped him down to the bronze medal position but it was still a fine reward for a rider who so nearly represented Britain in Beijing four years ago.
Having caught the eye of British Cycling coaches Shane Sutton and Doug Dailey at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, a chance conversation between Dailey and Froome at the Tour of Kenya revealed that Froome had British grandparents. British Cycling offered him the chance to race for Great Britain but a change in registration did not happen in time for him to be eligible for the road race at the Beijing Olympics.
Wiggins’s margin of victory left no one in any doubt as to who was the most deserving winner of the gold medal. His position on the bike was immaculate as he demonstrated again his ability to transfer a decade of track pursuiting excellence into road time trialling dominance.
Cancellara, the reigning champion, was the last man out on the course but Wiggins’s victory was already confirmed. The Swiss rider’s bid to repeat his victory in Beijing was completely undermined by a crash in the closing stages of Saturday’s road race. That he managed to finish, clearly in pain, in seventh place was a testimony to his guts and determination as much as his world-class ability.
Lady luck deserted Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez, who snapped his chain on the start ramp and had to swap bikes, then had another mechanical problem later on. His outside bid for a medal was ruined before he’d even started.
For Wiggins there was no such drama. In his home city, in front of his home crowd, he delivered. “I don’t think my sporting career can top that now. What a month. I’ve won the Tour de France and the Olympic Games,” he said.
Men's Olympic TT Results
|1||Great Britain WIGGINS Bradley||50:39.5|
|2||Germany MARTIN Tony||51:21.5|
|3||Great Britain FROOME Christopher||51:47.9|
|4||United States of America PHINNEY Taylor||52:38.1|
|5||Italy PINOTTI Marco||52:49.3|
|6||Australia ROGERS Michael||52:51.4|
|7||Switzerland CANCELLARA Fabian||52:53.7|
|8||Germany GRABSCH Bert||53:18.0|
|9||Spain CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS Jonathan||53:29.4|
|10||Slovenia BRAJKOVIC Janez||54:09.7|
|11||Netherlands WESTRA Lieuwe||54:19.6|
|12||Belarus KIRYIENKA Vasil||54:30.3|
|13||Norway BOASSON HAGEN Edvald||54:30.9|
|14||Denmark BAK Lars Ytting||54:33.2|
|15||Denmark FUGLSANG Jakob||54:34.5|
|16||Sweden LARSSON Gustav||54:35.3|
|17||Belgium GILBERT Philippe||54:40.0|
|18||Portugal OLIVEIRA Nelson Filipe S. Simoes||54:41.6|
|19||New Zealand BAUER Jack||54:54.2|
|20||Russian Federation MENCHOV Denis||54:59.3|
|21||Lithuania NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas||55:12.3|
|22||Netherlands BOOM Lars||55:29.7|
|23||Kazakhstan VINOKUROV Alexandr||55:37.0|
|24||Japan BEPPU Fumiyuki||55:40.6|
|25||Poland BODNAR Maciej||55:49.7|
|26||Brazil NAZARET Magno Prado||55:50.8|
|27||Ireland McCANN David||56:03.8|
|28||Canada HESJEDAL Ryder||56:06.2|
|29||France CHAVANEL Sylvain||56:07.7|
|30||Switzerland ALBASINI Michael||56:38.4|
|31||Kazakhstan BAZAYEV Assan||56:40.8|
|32||Spain SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon||56:59.2|
|33||Venezuela GIL MARTINEZ Tomas Aurelio||57:05.1|
|34||Morocco LAHSAINI Mouhcine||57:25.2|
|35||Colombia DUARTE AREVALO Fabio Andres||57:34.2|
|36||Islamic Republic of Iran HAGHI Alireza||57:41.4|
|37||Turkey AKDILEK Ahmet||59:11.2|
Pooley Sixth as Armstrong makes it back to back Olympic TT titles
Great Britain’s Emma Pooley took sixth in the women’s time trial in a time of 38:37.70 after a strong ride on a course that didn’t suit the British rider. Teammate Lizzie Armitstead posted a 39.26.24 to finish 10th as Kristin Armstrong of the USA successfully defended Olympic Gold, with Germany’s Judith Ardnt silver and Russia’s Olga Zabelynskaya Bronze.
The women’s event started on damp but drying roads after showers in the morning. Clemilda Fernandes Silva of Brazil got proceedings underway and posted an opening marker of 41:25.39. This was soon overhauled and it wasn’t until Olga Zabelinskaya took to the Hampton Court Palace course that the times got serious, the Russian posting a time of 37:57.35 and going first.
Lizzie Armitstead was the first of the Great Britain pair to tackle the 29km, predominantly flat course to huge cheers from the crowds that packed the barriers outside Hampton Court Palace, getting underway at 12:52. Armistead went through the first split at 14:33.94, in 9th position, going on to post a final time of 39.26.24, good enough for 4th position at that point, eventually slipping back to finish 10th.
Pooley got underway at 12:57 with the crowd once again going wild at the sight of Team GB livery and went through the first split fastest at 14:06. Clara Hughes of Canada soon toppled Pooley posting a 14:05 with Linda Villumsen of New Zealand first to break the 14 minute mark with a 13:57.
World Time Trial Champion Judith Arndt of Germany failed to knock Pooley out of the podium positions at the 9km split, posting a 14:06.67, a surprise to many. Marianne Vos surprised too in the early stages, well off the pace.
It was left to Olympic champion to raise the bar, and she did, Kristin Armstrong posting 13:56.38 and going fastest, knocking Pooley down to 4th on the road.
Onto the second split at 20.4km and Villumsen was six seconds faster than Zabelinskaya, and with Judith Arndt, Kristin Armstrong and Clara Hughes posting hot times, Pooley was down to 6th place.
Rain in the final 9km made it difficult for the final finishers to raise their game, but Pooley dug deep and clocked 38:37.70, 2nd on the road but with the big guns yet to finish.
Hughes was next across the line 38:28.96, going second, with early starter Zabelinskaya still sitting pretty in the hot seat. Villumsen was next but with a 37:59 dropped into second with just Arndt and Armstrong still in contention.
It was Arndt that finally toppled Zabelinskaya from the hotseat with a 37.50 leaving it to 38 year old Armstrong to rise to the occasion, which she did, posting 37:34 and making it back to back Olympic golds.
Women's Olympic TT Results
|1||United States of America ARMSTRONG Kristin||37:34.8|
|2||Germany ARNDT Judith||37:50.3|
|3||Russian Federation ZABELINSKAYA Olga||37:57.3|
|4||New Zealand VILLUMSEN Linda Melanie||37:59.2|
|5||Canada HUGHES Clara||38:29.0|
|6||Great Britain POOLEY Emma||38:37.7|
|7||United States of America NEBEN Amber||38:45.2|
|8||Netherlands van DIJK Ellen||38:53.7|
|9||Germany WORRACK Trixi||39:20.7|
|10||Great Britain ARMITSTEAD Elizabeth||39:26.2|
|11||Finland SUNDSTEDT Pia||40:01.7|
|12||Russian Federation ANTOSHINA Tatiana||40:12.5|
|13||Australia GILLOW Shara||40:25.0|
|14||Sweden JOHANSSON Emma||40:38.6|
|15||France CORDON Audrey||40:40.5|
|16||Netherlands VOS Marianne||40:40.8|
|17||Sweden FAHLIN Emilia||41:15.9|
|18||Brazil FERNANDES SILVA Clemilda||41:25.4|
|19||Canada RAMSDEN Denise||41:44.8|
|20||Azerbaijan TCHALYKH Elena||41:47.1|
|21||Italy GUDERZO Tatiana||41:48.9|
|22||Italy CANTELE Noemi||41:51.2|
|23||Belgium de VOCHT Liesbet||42:08.3|
|24||South Africa MOOLMAN Ashleigh||42:23.6|
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