Sir Bradley Wiggins says he is still coming to terms with his unprecedented Olympic success after he claimed the fifth gold medal of his career in the men’s team pursuit.
In a classic final against Australia, the Great Britain team of Wiggins, Owain Doull, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke were behind for much of the race. In the end, it took a world record time to claim victory, by a margin of less than three-quarters of a second.
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“It still hasn’t really sunk in really,” said Wiggins. “When it’s that close it’s almost like you cheated death a little bit, that kind of feeling of ‘God, what if we had lost?’ You have to keep reminding yourself ‘well you didn’t lose, you won.’
“I don’t think we expected it to be that close in the end. We didn’t underestimate the Australian team, but we didn’t think they’d be that close to us.”
Great Britain’s hugely successful Olympic Games comes off the back of a difficult year for British Cycling.
A high-profile row engulfed the elite performance set-up when sprinter Jess Varnish accused coach Shane Sutton of making sexist remarks before excluding her from the Olympic selection.
Road star Lizzie Armitstead had to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to avoid a ban for missing three drugs tests that would have seen her miss the Olympics.
Wiggins – who is known to have been close to Sutton – recently came out in support of his old coach, saying he expects Sutton to be cleared by a British Cycling review panel.
But despite the negative headlines Wiggins says that the racing “takes over” and is the part people will remember.
“I think it’s, in a great place to be honest. I think, when there’s not much going on in the lead up to it, obviously there’s space, stories to fill, this that and the other, and there’s always a breaking story about something or, someone’s been to the toilet today or whatever and…. but at the end of it, the racing takes over all that and here we are, we’ve seen the racing the last few days.”