By Nigel Wynn
Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Olympic Games men's cycling time trial on Wednesday to take the fourth Olympic gold of his career. In total, Wiggins now has seven Olympic medals - the most won by any British athlete in history.
Chris Froome gave Britain further cause for celebration by winning bronze. World time trial champion Tony Martin (Germany) placed second at 42 seconds to take silver.
Wiggins caused gasps among the many thousands of spectators when he came through the first intermediate time checkpoint at 7.3 kilometres second fastest, five seconds behind Martin. There was no panic. Once again, Wiggins proved to be the master of pacing himself and by the second checkpoint had moved to 11 seconds ahead of the German, and never looked back.
Wiggins continued at the same velocity, his smooth pedalling style making his stunning performance look effortless.
At the finish, his time caused a massive cheer among the crowd - but the man himself appeared unwilling to celebrate until last rider off and defending champion Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) came in. Cancellara, however, was still in some difficulty after crashing out of the men's road race on Saturday and finished seventh.
Spain's Luis Leon Sanchez suffered an amazing stroke of bad luck when his chain snapped on the first pedal stroke in the start house. His mechanic was caught out, and it took a while to get a replacement bike to him. Then he suffered a puncture further down the course, his ride over for the day.
Wiggins's time trial gold comes after his historic win at the Tour de France in July in what has been the best season for a British cyclist - and possibly any cyclist - in the history of the sport. Before the Tour, he won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandy and Criterium du Dauphine.
This latest medal joins Wiggins Olympic golds in the individual pursuit (2004 and 2008) and team pursuit (2008), plus silver in the team pursuit (2004) and bronze in the team pursuit (2000) and Madison (2004).
With Lizzie Armitstead's silver in the women's road race, British cyclists have now won a medal of each colour and occupy the top slot in the London 2012 cycling event medal table - even before the start of the track events on Thursday.
Re-read our live text coverage for the men's time trial>>
London 2012 Olympic Games: Men's cycling time trial, 44km
1. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) in 50-40
2. Tony Martin (Germany) at 42 secs
3. Chris Froome (Great Britain) at 1-08
4. Taylor Phinney (USA) at 1-59
5. Marco Pinotti (Italy) at 2-10
6. Michael Rogers (Australia) at 2-12
7. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) at 2-14
8. Bert Grabsch (Germany) at 2-39
9. Jonathan Catroviejo (Spain) at 2-50
10. Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) at 3-30
Bradley Wiggins's fans
Men's TT podium (l-r): Tony Martin (silver), Bradley Wiggins (gold), Chris Froome (bronze)
Armstrong defends Olympic title in women's time trial
London 2012: Live text coverage of cycling events
August 1: Men's and women's time trials
July 28: Men's road race
July 29: Women's road race
London 2012: Latest news
Wiggins: Tour was perfect Olympic TT preparation
Olympic time trial round-up
Pendleton warms up for London 2012
Cancellara in, Evans out of time trial
CW eyewitness: Remember the name
Cavendish finds solace in commitment of his team mates
The scene at Box Hill
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Bradley Wiggins' UKSI Olympic bike
Hoy helicoptered in for opening ceremony
Box Hill closed after local riders give security the slip
Boonen and Gilbert train on Box Hill Olympic circuit
Goss fresh for Olympic Games assault
Trott on top: London 2012
Hoy to be GB flag bearer at London 2012 opening ceremony
Millar: I think about Olympics all the time
Cavendish recognises advantage in missed Tour chances ahead of Olympics
Kenny not Hoy selected for London 2012 sprint
German and French Olympic teams sneak in fourth sprinter
Cavendish: GB's best bet for Olympic gold
London 2012: Team info
Men's road race start list
Women's road race start list
Men's time trial start list
Women's time trial start list
Team GB rider profiles
Great Britain track team confirmed
Bronzini leads Italian Olympic cycling team
British Olympic men's road race team announced
Armitstead and Cooke lead GB women's road cycling team
London 2012: Event guides
Olympic Games men's time trial: Who will win?
Olympic Games women's time trial: Who will win?
Olympic time trial routes announced
Olympic Games women's road race: Who will win?
Olympic Games men's road race: Who will win?
Download detailed Olympic road race route map
London 2012 cycling schedule
London 2012: Reports
Cycling events medal table
Women's road race: Armitstead wins silver as Vos strikes gold
Men's road race: Vinokourov wins as Cavendish misses out
London 2012: Photos
Pendleton track training
Women's road race by Andy Jones
Women's road race by Graham Watson
Men's road race by Andy Jones
Men's road race by Phil O'Connor
Men's road race by Graham Watson
Team GB road race training on Box Hill (July 26)
London 2012: Podcasts
London 2012: TV schedule
London 2012 BBC TV cycling coverage schedule
London 2012 Eurosport cycling coverage schedule
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