Olympic cycling: Wiggins does the double, claims British victory

On Wednesday, Bradley Marc Wiggins became a legend.

Born in Belgium but raised in London and firmly a Briton, Wiggins made sporting history for the home country in multiple ways by handily winning the gold medal in the men’s cycling time trial.

The medal was the seventh of Wiggins’s Olympic career, one that stretches all the way back to Sydney in 2000, and made him the most decorated of any British Olympian in history. Wiggins had previously shared that distinction with the rower Sir Steve Redgrave, although Redgrave’s five golds narrowly surpass Wiggins’s four.

Afterward, superlatives gushed forth from the winner and some of his esteemed admirers.

“I don’t think my sporting career will ever top this now,” said Wiggins, although he later noted that he would still keep focused and try to claim a fifth gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016. “That’s it. It will never, never get better than that. Incredible.”

“His sporting performances this year have been unprecedented,” said Chris Boardman, a former time-trial specialist who is often considered a giant of the sport in his own right. “The greatest British cyclist of all time, I have no qualms about saying that. One of the top British sportsmen, also.”

Boardman was alluding to Wiggins’s performance in the Tour de France in July, where he became the first-ever Briton to win the three-week race that is generally accepted as cycling’s toughest test. Wiggins also became the first man to win the Olympic time trial as reigning Tour champion, although the event was not contested for much of the 20th century.

Chris Froome, who finished second to Wiggins at the Tour, took bronze, making this a double-medal event for the host country. Tony Martin of Germany slotted between them to snag silver, 42 seconds slower than Wiggins.

American Taylor Phinney, 22, was fourth, a brilliant result that left him narrowly outside the medals for both of his events, as Phinney also finished fourth in the road race on Saturday. Phinney acknowledged that the pair of results were agonizing, but focused the attention on Wiggins after the race, perhaps knowing that he will in all likelihood have several more chances to redeem himself in the coming years.