Road World Championships: Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky miss out in tight battle for team time-trial medal

Sky finished fourth and missed out on a medal by two seconds

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The Independent Online

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky came within a whisker of fulfilling their podium ambitions in Sunday’s Road World Championships team time trial, finishing two seconds behind bronze medallists Omega Pharma-Quick Step despite racing with only the minimum four riders for much of the course.

Overall winners BMC Racing were head and shoulders above the rest, the American squad blasting round the 57km (36-mile) course to take gold by 32 seconds over Orica-GreenEdge of Australia. Only 30 seconds separated the silver medallists from American team Trek in seventh place.

For Sky to come so close to claiming bronze, therefore, despite shedding two of their six riders, Briton Geraint Thomas and Italian Salvatore Puccio, less than halfway round the course, was in no way a poor performance.

Wiggins and Vasil Kiryienka seemed instrumental in keeping the British team’s pace ferociously high, with Wiggins and his Belarusian team-mate taking long drives on the final climb and then powering down a technical, rain-soaked climb into the finish city of Ponferrada.

However, while Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and the defending champions OmegaPharma-Quick Step had a three-way scrabble for the podium positions, BMC Racing’s time remained stubbornly at the top of the leader board.

“We’re not surprised,” said the BMC leader, Tejay Van Garderen. “We came very close to gold in 2012, losing only by three seconds, so we were pretty confident.”

Wiggins resorted to a laconic “there’s not much to say about this” when talking to reporters afterwards. But the Sky leader, recently winner of a stage in the Tour of Britain, seems optimistic about his chances of taking a top result in the individual time trial, his main goal here. “I’ll give it a good nudge on Wednesday,” he said.

Prior to BMC’s victory, the US had already celebrated one victory in Ponferrada as Specialized-lululemon fulfilled expectations by taking their third straight win in the women’s equivalent event.

However, all-time women’s cycling great Marianne Vos and her Rabo-Liv squad had an appalling time, starting when Dutch star Vos, alleging uneven form, was dropped by her team-mates with 11 kilometres to go.

As if that was not bad enough, a spectacular crash then decimated the remainder of the squad, when one Rabo-Liv rider, Annemiek van Vleuten, misjudged a corner and rode into a barrier. Two team-mates then somersaulted over her and slammed into the ground, with the worst injured, Anna van der Breggen, suffering a broken pelvis.

Prior to Wiggins battling to add a gold medal to the two silvers he already has in the World Championships individual time trial, racing continues today with the women’s junior and men’s under-23 time trials.