Bradley Wiggins was just four seconds from taking a bronze medal before a mechanical problem wrecked his ride in the World Championships time trial in Mendrisio. Yet after getting changed and recovering from his ride, he took it pretty well.

Wiggins sportingly admitted that he would have felt guilty taking a bronze medal because of the slipstream advantage he had when he was caught by Fabian Cancellara.   

“I was going well, I was going perfect really, for my race. Fabian aside, I think I was on a good one,” Wiggins said.

“He just caught me a crucial time really, because I was kind of stuck and couldn’t really do anything but sit back and wait. Then numb nuts (Larsson) came past me and I just a bit… I don’t know really. I don’t know what to say. I won’t say too much.”

Wiggins was angry with Larsson and does not consider him a worthy silver medalist.

He did not know how long the Swede had benefitted from Cancellara catching him so early on but made it clear he would not have used the same trick to win a medal.

“I was kind of sat there for a lap behind Fabian, not really doing anything. I had moments where I said ‘sod this, I’m going to sit up. This is no way to win the bronze.’ I felt sorry for Tony Martin. I felt like I was cheating a bit even though I was 150 metres behind him,” Wiggins said.  

“I kind of wanted to win a bronze or silver off my own merit. I’d ridden my race up to then and could have risen my game on the last lap and come back on Tony and be there or there abouts. But I’d have felt funny standing here as the bronze medal winner having sat on him for just over a lap. It’d be a bit false really, I wouldn’t have felt I’d got it on my own merit.”

“I could have done with being eight minutes in front of him and got it on my own merit. It’s the same with Larsson, I don’t think he’s a worthy silver medalist. For me Tony Martin is the silver medalist.”

Chain touches rear brake

Wiggins revealed that his mechanical was caused by his chain.

The chain came off at the bottom of the climb and moved the brake caliper positioned behind the bottom bracket so that it touched the rim. He stopped for a bike change on the climb but did not know the team car was not behind him because it had been stopped by the race judges.

“The brake pulled over because I’d dropped my chain at the bottom of the climb. The brake is behind the chain ring and it just moved the brake caliper over,” he said.

“I did the climb because I didn’t want to change at the bottom with it rubbing and thought I’d change it at the top. I jumped off not knowing that the car wasn’t there. And that was it really. It was race over.”

Bradley Wiggins bike trouble, World Champs 2009 time trial

Bradley Wiggins is forced to swap his bike after mechanical trouble

No regrets after super 2009 season

Despite a bad day in Mendrisio, Wiggins was able to see the bigger picture and remember what he has achieved this season.

However, he has no regrets or second thoughts about riding Sunday’s road race.

“I think it’s been a good season. I came here and did what I wanted to do. I feel I had good form and rode it pretty well until the mechanical,” he said.

“It’s just the way it is. I’ve done enough of these to know that s**t happens and to be honest I’ve had a lot of luck this year. I’ve come through two grand tours without crashing once. It’s been pretty good really and a bit of bad luck at the end of the year is the way it goes. A lot of it really is my own fault. I’ve taken a few risks with equipment and things and unfortunately it happened today.

“I’m quite happy I’m going home. I’m done mentally. The time trial is just enough of a focus to put all of my energy into the last couple of weeks and it’s been a good little goal since the Tour de France. The prospect of riding 19 laps is something else.”

“I’m still going to Australia (to ride the Sun Tour) but that’s to enjoy it.”

  • Pokak

    “The chain came off at the bottom of the climb”
    For 5 quid you can buy devices that clamp to the seat tube or the front mech which will prevent this. Whatever happened to the British Cycling mantra of perfect preparation & equipment?

    “and moved the brake caliper positioned behind the bottom bracket so that it touched the rim”
    Just in case you had any doubts about the aerodynamic benefit of this design over the conventional position for the rear caliper at the join of the seat stays…

    “He stopped for a bike change on the climb but did not know the team car was not behind him”
    agree with Ken Evans; isn’t this what race radios are for?

    So rather than trying to fix his bike or open the quick release on the calipers like any of us would have done, he threw his bike on the ground like a petulant child instead! Good to see that CW covered this “sporting” moment so accurately. Sorry chakkchimp but Wiggins is a professional and should behave like one even when things are not going his way. This was truly a British performance all round.

  • Nutcombe Nutcombe

    Simple: he should have ridden Campag and not Shimano. There’s a lesson to us all there.

  • chakkchimp

    Don’t be so ungracious, he had a mechanical, he was ulucky and has accepted it. Give the bloke a break, he’s a done a great job for British cycling. He’s entitled to a view. And as for claiming you’re better than Bradley Wiggins, show us your medals Paul

  • Scott

    Paul – the judges DID warn him twice I believe, and a lot of fans have already acknowledge the way the race was organised practically guaranteed Larsson at least the bronze due to him being a minute in front of Fab meaning he could draft (which he did) for a while behind his team mate. Next time I hope they organise it like all other time trials, with larger gaps (at least 2, if not 3 minutes) and not a stupid circuit but a proper route – much more fair for all concerned and the one going ahead of fab won’t get a dispropotionate advantage through being caught early

  • Matt

    It’s about time the UCI had a re-think of the Worlds TT format, and put the favourites at 3 minute intervals as they do in the Tour.

  • Paul

    Wiggins was not good enough he had been caught for 2 mins before he had his so called mechanical, I have rode up a hill 25% with a broken spoke on my carbon rear wheel and brakes almost full on and changed over the top, I did not throw my bike like a spoilt child he is only looking for someone to blame for his poor form as for Larson drafting Cancellara, sitting 100m behind is not sitting on its a carrot to the donkey every tester will do it if they are passed by a better rider, if the judges thought it was drafting they would have warned him

  • Ken Evans

    “I jumped off not knowing that the car wasn’t there.”

    What about using the radio first ?????