With Ed Clancy, Owain Doull and Steven Burke, Great Britain were pushed to the very limit by arch-rivals Australia in a fitting climax to the team pursuit competition and the 36-year-old was delighted with his the final race of his Olympic career.
"I wanted to go out with this. I wanted it to end like this, not some crappy little race in northern France - Paris-Tours - climbing off in the feed zone. It's brilliant," he said after collecting his gold.
Wiggins spoke of the relief at ending his Olympic odyssey on a high and the knowledge that the intense build-up to the Games is finally over.
"Now it's done, and it's more relief than anything," he said. "I was just saying to myself, thank f*** that's over. I don't have to live with this anymore. It's gone now.
"Two years ago, all this press has been building up. I never underestimated it [the challenge] for one minute, I gave up the road, and gave up the big salary and I was just a number again.
"Eighteen months ago, there were doubts that I could come back and do this. It was gold or nothing for this team. The last 12 months, we have done everything together. Training camps, even cycling on Christmas Day. It was all for this."
Wiggins also praised his Australian rivals for pushing Great Britain so hard in the final, with just 0.743 seconds separating the two teams at the end of 16 laps of the Rio track.
"Hats off to the Australians - they're the reason we get up in the morning," Wiggins added. "It was a horrible race to be in. It's all over in a flash. It's all about executing a plan, in a final like that, to hold your bottle for the last six laps."
>>> The all-time list of Britain’s most successful Olympic cyclists
Wiggins will bow out from cycling at the Tour of Britain (September 4-11) and the Ghent Six (November 15-20), where he will team up with Mark Cavendish. For now though, his focus is on celebrating his medal and returning home.
We're going out now. I'll be hungover tomorrow, but I am trying to soak it all up," he said. "My kids need a proper dad in their lives. My wife needs a proper husband."
Tech of the Month August
Power meter pedals, cream wall tyres and a double hitter of gravel bikes – plus the usual mix of news and reviews
By Stefan Abram •
Tokyo 2020 Olympics cycling medals table: Team GB move up to top the board
Here are all of the medals awarded so far for two-wheeled events
By Alex Ballinger •
Team pursuit: Everything you need to know for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Get to know the team pursuit for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
By Richard Windsor •
British Cycling told riders 'not to divulge details' of 100-person Manchester training event
The governing body has defended the 'simulated Olympic competition' as being within the government lockdown guidance
By Jonny Long •
Track coach dropped by Australian team and will have to leave the country with four month-old son
Australia’s sprint coach has been dropped from the team and will now have to leave the country with his four-month old son.
By Alex Ballinger •
World champion Elinor Barker plans to hone Olympic Madison skills at Manchester Six Day
Recently crowned points race World Champion Elinor Barker will ramp up her preparations for the Olympics when she races at the Manchester Six Day this weekend.
By Vern Pitt •
Bike of the future - Building British Cycling's new Olympic bike
British Cycling's UKSI bike is a thing of legend, so when Hope dropped the new British track bike on us at the end of 2019 we knew we had to go and take a closer look at the story behind it.
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •
Mark Cavendish’s chances of riding Olympics are diminishing, says British Cycling coach
Mark Cavendish’s chances of making it to the Olympics are diminishing, according to the head coach at British Cycling.
By Alex Ballinger •
Kristina Vogel on Team GB: 'I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything but it is all very questionable'
German track rider Kristina Vogel spoke out after Team GB were the most successful team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
By Jack Elton-Walters •
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, Britain’s golden couple, bring the house down in Rio
Britain's most successful male and female Olympians round off a stunning Games for Great Britain's cyclists
By Richard Abraham •