Commonwealth Games 2014: Sir Bradley Wiggins and England win silver as Australia triumph in men's cycling team pursuit final

Disappointment for Wiggins in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver by brilliant Australia

at sir chris hoy velodrome

It was supposed to be the great track homecoming, the quest for a first Commonwealth Games gold medal. But the team pursuit title Sir Bradley Wiggins first attempted to win as an 18-year-old will now forever elude him.

There was no disgrace in picking up a fourth career Commonwealth silver medal. For much of this year the aspiration had only ever been to ride the Tour de France, it was only six weeks ago when Team Sky denied him that particular opportunity that he turned his attention to the banked velodrome.

There may be those that think Wiggins should have been riding towards the Champs-Élysées in Paris this weekend rather than pounding lap after lap of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow. But credit should go to Sky that he is here at all as a  back-up plan, team principal Dave Brailsford the man that first instilled the idea in Wiggins of a Commonwealth Games ride.

On the track he was clearly England’s dominant rider, taking on the lion’s share of the work with occasional two-lap runs in front at a time in qualifying and the final, while team-mates Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Andy Tennant, by no means slouches on two wheels, generally opted for one-lap stints.

In truth, whatever the tactic employed they were never going to match an Australia line-up stronger than the one that won the won the world title in Cali earlier in the year, Jack Bobridge taking the place of Mitchell Mulhern to ride alongside Luke Davison, Alex Edmondson and Glenn O’Shea. Even when Davison was dropped with a kilometre to go England could not claw back the difference and lost by four seconds.

While the Australians oozed fluidity, a unit with similar preparations, at times England looked more ragged than they have become accustomed to in the event.

As Wiggins came off the track, it was with an initial feeling of disappointment but, despite a gargantuan gap to make up to Australia, he was not disheartened enough to give up on one final shot at Olympic gold and bid to become Britain’s most successful Olympian with an eighth medal around his neck.

“In hindsight, we’ll look back and think this is a start point for us now for the next two years and Rio is the goal and we’ve got to work back from that,” he said. “I don’t want to sound like Roy Hodgson but we’ve definitely got some work to do. It’s going to take a lot of dedication to the track. It’s about winning in Rio for us.”

Come the Olympics in two years time, the British line-up ought to be bolstered by Olympic champion Pete Kennaugh, riding for the Isle of Man in Glasgow, and potentially Geraint Thomas depending on his road-racing ambitions.

The gold, on this occasion at least, may not have been the outcome but Wiggins said he had “answered the questions on whether I can still do it or not”.

It is to the track and day racing that Wiggins will now predominantly focus himself. Winning Paris-Roubaix remains a career ambition but hopes of emulating his 2012 Tour de France triumph or another big stage race for that matter have now gone. This year’s Vuelta, once mooted as a possible target when he was omitted from the Tour, has at the very least been scrapped.

“With the commitment it will take for the track and speeds we’ll have to go at, looking at changing body position, being heavier, more explosive, that will hinder the climbing in grand tours,” he added. “I don’t relish riding the mountains in the back group for three weeks having won the Tour. If you look at the progression of each Olympic Games it will become a sprint endurance race and I don’t think the road or, say, a grand tour will complement that.”

Wiggins was very much the main attraction on the first night in the velodrome but there were other medallists. England’s sprinters had struggled in the individual event in the morning but the trio of Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Kian Emadi combined to take silver half a second behind New Zealand in the team event.

Kenny admitted: “We’ve been struggling to put together really technically good rides, so it is something to build on as we look towards the World Championships and Olympics. There is no mad rush, we need to keep working hard and grinding away and hopefully the results will come in.”

For Australia’s Anna Meares it was another junction on her own comeback trail having taken time out after London 2012 during which she travelled and laid around home in her pyjamas.

As Meares pondered a return, she sought advice from Sir Chris Hoy, who texted her before her ride. She revealed afterwards: “He said ‘be sure to wipe your feet before you come into my nice new  velodrome’.”

Instead Meares, watched from the commentary box by her former track nemesis Victoria Pendleton, wiped the floor in the 500m time trial, no one coming close to her, as she finished more than half a second clear of countrywoman Stephanie Morton in second, with England’s Jess Varnish taking bronze.

Scotland also won its first medal of the Games in the velodrome courtesy of 41-year-old Aileen McGlynn and guide rider Louise Haston but were pipped to gold by England’s 18-year-old Sophie Thornhill, who has just nine per cent  vision because of a form of albinism, with Helen Scott.

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders