Bradley Wiggins, the fastest mod on two wheels, has lit up these Games with his historic performance in the men’s time trial, says Titus Chalk
“He has wings on his wheels has Wiggins,” opined the commentator. And we fans, watching on a big screen inside the Olympic Park roared our agreement. Bradley Wiggins is the finest British cyclist of all time and as he powered across the finishing line of the road cycling men's time trial ahead of Germany's Tony Martin, he earned another accolade: the melancholy mod with the incandescent sideburns is now Britain's most successful Olympian with seven medals to his name and the darling of a nation who as one want to bear hug his skinny frame.
Wiggins though is too introverted for all that, suspicious even of the affections of a nation notoriously fickle with its heroes. It will not have escaped his attention either, that such is the strength of British cycling currently that, with the track programme starting on Thursday, he may soon have to share his mantle with Sir Chris Hoy; breaker of velodromes, crusher of men and possessor of five handsome medals so far. Such is Wiggins' humility, that he would be the first to applaud Hoy should he become the nation's joint-best - and indeed he has already said he will be in the “Pringle”, as the track cycling has been nicknamed, to roar his support as a fan.
It will be a well-earned break after a year in which Wiggins has gone from role model to the UK's specialist biking community to a man whose name is raised reverently by mums (my own in included) at the dinner table. He has clocked up classic wins like a bowler on a hot streak knocking down wickets and he sealed his historic Tour de France triumph with a peerless display of time-trialling on the penultimate stage. It was no flash in the pan - and today he once again demonstrated his masterful technique, all flat back, motionless torso and smoothly whirring legs. It was Great Britain's second gold of the day, taken in style, and a hint that the home nation might just be building momentum as the second week of the Games edges closer.
Wiggins, Olympic bell-ringer extraordinaire, grew up in Kilburn, London and was clearly moved by the scenes in his home city today: "Going through Kingston the noise was amazing,” he said after completing his historic feat. “I don't think my sporting career will ever top that now". He can rest assured that we were moved by him, too, cheering every frame of his fluid display as it was beamed back from the course near Hampton Court Palace. As he perched on a handsome throne at the end of the race flashing victory signs to the crowds, there was only one thought on all our minds: “Arise, Sir Wiggins,” a knighthood surely the next title he will win.
Author: Titus Chalk
Editor: Chuck Penfold