British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme athlete Sir Bradley Wiggins finished in second place in a thrilling finish to the UCI Road World Championships time trial.
Wiggins' ride on the 56.8-kilometre course was immediately challenged by fellow time trial specialists. Favourites Fabian Cancellara and defending champion Tony Martin, who both led the Olympic champion, languishing in sixth place at the first split.
However, on a course a full seven kilometres longer than the longest distance allowed by UCI regulations, Wiggins' pacing would prove prudent in the closing stages, as he closed on fast starting Cancellara.
Martin continued unhindered to defend his title, 46 seconds up on Wiggins, who came back from a maximum defeceit of 25 seconds on Cancellara.
However, Wiggins rode to close the gap in the final kilometres, overtaking Cancellara in the final corners to take the silver medal by just two seconds.
The podium finish, along with his victory at the Tour of Britain, confirmed Wiggins' return to the realm of cycling's elite, four months after retiring from the Giro d'Italia and missing selection for the Tour de France.
Wiggins was in reflective mood after his performance, describing winner Tony Martin as on a different level.
"I executed it perfect; a to b as fast as possible" Wiggins said of his ride.
"I wasn’t really aware of the checks, Rod was telling me in the radio but with the crowds I couldn’t really hear and in the last 20 minutes I was pretty oblivious to everything other than the effort.
"I wasn’t at all aware of how close I was to Cancellara, just focussed on my own effort and didn’t know until I collapsed in the tent. But Tony was on a different level today.
"It’s an honour to be on a podium with guys like that, it’ll be something to show the kids when I’m older."
For Alex Dowsett it was a challenging day. Obviously still feeling the effects of an illness contracted before the Tour of Britain, he finished an uncharacteristic 41st.
After the race, Dowsett tried to assess his performance.
“I thought it was going ok, but once I got settled in the power was way down. I’m disappointed, it wasn’t me today, I gave it everything, it wasn’t to be.
“Maybe it was a bit too little too late with 12 days off the bike from being ill, I tried to stay positive but it wasn’t easy. I cant describe how disappointed I am with that this is a course I thought would have suited me.”
1. Tony Martin (GER) 1:05.36
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) +0:00.46
3. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) +0:00.48
41. Alex Dowsett (GBR) +00:05.47