The all-star British pair repeated their feat of eight years ago in dramatic fashion, gaining a lap on the field in the final 20 laps, recovering from a crash and clinging on as their rivals counter-attacked.
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Three countries including Colombia took an early lap on the field to put them in the medal positions and even though Wiggins and Cavendish won three consecutive sprints at the halfway mark they knew they needed to gain a lap to reach the podium.
Despite being a marked team, the pair teamed up with Spain to launch an attack with just over 30 laps left and with 170 laps already in their legs their rivals found it hard to bring the two teams back.
Eventually making the catch with 17 laps remaining, Wiggins and Cavendish needed to be alert for counter-attacks, and their task was made all the harder when the Manxman hit the ground with 11 laps to go.
Wiggins was forced to take a longer turn in the heart of the race until Cavendish made his way back to the track.
The pair hung on to the wheels in the peloton to secure the gold medal – Great Britain’s fifth gold of the Championships. Wiggins takes his career tally to seven World titles, while Cavendish takes his third – all in the Madison.