Of all the bike races I have witnessed over the years, nothing beats last week’s Olympic men’s time trial. And I doubt anything ever will.
This was a once in a lifetime experience for cycling fans. Roared on by a sea of supporters, here was the newly-crowned Tour de France winner pounding to victory on home roads. The nation was gripped by Wiggomania on a day that will forever change bike racing in Britain.
After his epic gold medal performance Bradley Wiggins summed things up pretty well. “It is never going to get any better than that. There is almost slight melancholy. I realised on the podium that that’s probably it for me. I don’t think anything is going to top that.”
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He mentioned the rapturous response as he tore into Kingston. It wasn’t a cheer, it was roar, loader than anything you’ll hear at football or a concert. Somebody called it a “sonic Mexican wave.” It was, you heard our hero long before you saw him. The decibels built as he sped into sight until at last it was your turn to yell ‘Wiggo’ at the top of your lungs.
Then he was gone with just time to sprint into the closest pub to catch the closing stages on the TV. We were six-deep at the barriers in Kingston but that was nothing compared to the scenes at the finish by Hampton Court Palace. “Now I know how the Beatles felt,” said our man. He probably does. It was that special.
Robert Garbutt, Editor.