May 22 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, Olympic staff reporter
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Wiggins unable to help Team GB medal contender Mark Cavendish to Olympic glory
Less than two weeks since his historic triumph in the Tour de France, the Olympic Road Race proved just too much for Kilburn cyclist Bradley Wiggins.
Having rung the Olympic bell at the beginning of Friday night’s Opening Ceremony, the North Londoner was back in his Great Britain lycra on the Mall at 10 the next morning as he took part in the road race which was held around the sights of London and out to Surrey to tackle Box Hill nine times before returning to London for the finish of the gruelling 250km race.
For once it was not Wiggins who was playing top fiddle for Britain. His priority in London will be the time trial later on Wednesday. Instead his job was to be part of the team that would hopefully help sprinter Mark Cavendish to a victory on the Mall.
However, after going over the top of Box Hill for the last time and beginning the long run home, GB and Wiggins were hit by a breakaway of 24 riders led by three Spanish riders.
The leaders gained a minute on the rest of the field and with Chris Froome struggling, Cavendish was becoming more and more reliant on Wiggins and Ian Stannard to keep him in with a chance of getting into a sprint finish.
A crash among the leaders allowed the chasing group to close the gap, but as Great Britain, helped by the Swiss tried to get organised, more breaks out the front were looking decisive in the gold medal battle.
Wiggins had run his race with six kilometres to go and went out the back of the pack, but even his best efforts were not enough to hoist Cavendish towards the front for the final sprint.
Roberto Uran Uran from Colombia and Aleksander Vinoukourov of Kazakhstan were the ones to make the decisive break with less than 10kms to go and it was the latter who was to steal a march on his rival to strike gold.
Wiggins will now hope that he has not taken too much out of himself as he prepares for the time trial on Wednesday, where he will be a hot favourite to win the gold.