LONDON (AFP) — Bradley Wiggins is confident that the time trialing feats that fired him to an historic Tour de France victory earlier this month can help him become Britain’s most successful Olympian on Wednesday.
A three-time gold medalist on the track, Wiggins goes into the 44km time trial around London’s Hampton Court Palace as the man to beat after winning both long time trials on the Tour.
A podium place of any kind would see Wiggins win a British record seventh Olympic medal. He is currently tied on six with rower Steve Redgrave, whose haul includes five golds.
But Wiggins’ focus is fixed on victory.
“Confidence is sky high that we’re going to be in the ballpark,” said the 32-year-old Londoner.
“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.”
On paper Wiggins faces a challenge from defending champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland — also a four-time world champion — and Germany’s reigning world champion Tony Martin.
But there are huge question marks over both riders.
Cancellara pulled out of the Tour early to be with his expectant wife, then injured his shoulder in a crash during Saturday’s Olympic road race where Wiggins and the rest of a strong British team were unable to set up victory for sprint star Mark Cavendish.
Martin also quit the Tour early after he suffered a wrist fracture early in the race.
Asked if he thought his two main rivals would have an advantage from the extra rest, Wiggins replied: “I don’t know, it’s tough to say.”
“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,” said Wiggins.
“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.”
Wiggins’ Sky teammate Chris Froome, the runner-up on the Tour de France, is Britain’s other time trial man.
Although the Kenyan-born Froome believed the course suited Wiggins “really well,” he remained confident regarding his own medal chances.
“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,” said Froome. “All I can do really is go in there and give it my best shot.”