“Bradley, what was the first thing you thought about this morning?”
“That I needed a wee.”
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“When I know the form and condition is there, I feel relaxed,” he added. “I know what I have to do.”
Wiggins had been talked up in Spain ahead of the time trial – a strong team time trial performance and a tough, technical course all playing to his favour against the blunderbuss style of Tony Martin – and he showed why.
His was a pitch-perfect ride on the smooth roads around Ponferrada. Into the headwind opening section and towards the final two climbs, he was consistently up against his rivals, Martin included, and he saved enough energy for the final leg-sapping climbs.
He and his Great Britain support team knew the final third of the 47.1km course was where the race would be won or lost and, in the words of Rod Ellingworth behind in the support car: “he nailed the descent.”
It was classic Wiggins, on a true ‘tester’s’ course that rewarded pacing, technical skill and power. It was the sort of ride that thousands of club riders strive for on a Sunday morning up and down the country.
“Your performances are what people remember you for the most,” Wiggins told the press conference later. “That’s what’s inspiring to people.”
He’ll certainly be remembered for this ride. And regardless of whether he successfully achieves his future targets of Paris-Roubaix, the Hour record and Olympic team pursuit gold in Rio, victory in his final ever road world championships will be up there when someone eventually brings out the “Wiggo’s Greatest Hits” DVD.
There was the swagger; vaulting his way up a four foot high podium platform as if his body had forgotten about the previous 56 minutes and 25 seconds, then strutting his way back to the TV interviews with a simian stroll worthy of a lead role in a Stone Roses gig.
And so too was a bit of swearing.
“Try and translate that: ‘s*** your pants,’” he joked with the Spanish translator at the post-race press conference after he’d described how he felt when he heard on race radio that he was only 10 seconds up on Tony Martin on the final summit.
Perhaps by way of an apology, the fresh-faced translator got the back of his pristine white shirt signed in black marker pen while he was translating Wiggins’ final answer, while the man himself made his exit, a cheeky grin on his face.
“As for the rest of it, it’s for the others to decide isn’t it?” Wiggins added.
“Not everyone likes you. You ought to see the comments on my Instagram sometimes.”
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Bradley Wiggins wins the time trial world title in Ponferrada, Spain, beating defending champion Tony Martin by 26 seconds
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