British Cycling’s management is quietly confident about Sir Bradley Wiggins’ chances of success when he does battle in the Road World Championships time trial against the favourite Tony Martin of Germany.
Martin’s goal is simple: to become the first rider ever to take four gold medals in four straight years in the men’s time trial – on this occasion held in the north-western Spanish city of Ponferrada.
Victory in the mid-race time trial of his warm-up event, the Vuelta a España, shows that the German is on his usual, storming pre-Worlds form. But Wiggins, who was riding very strongly in Sunday’s team time trial event when Sky finished fourth, is determined to end Martin’s domination.
In the last three years the Briton and German have regularly duelled in cycling’s top time trial events. Sandwiched between silver medals in the 2013 and 2011 World Championships behind Martin came Wiggins’ conclusive defeat of the German in the 2012 Olympics, when he claimed his fourth Games gold medal.
“He’s very motivated,” Sir Dave Brailsford, who oversaw that Olympic gold in London, just days after Wiggins had won the Tour de France, told The Independent. “He’s looking forward to it, and I’m sure he’ll get the best out of himself, and that’s the most important thing.”
As Brailsford points out, Wiggins is far from being Britain’s only contender. Essex rider and Giro d’Italia stage winner Alex Dowsett will also be taking part.
“Alex has put in some fantastic performances this year, and this is his favourite discipline. Plus,” Brailsford joked in reference to Dowsett’s trade team, the Spanish Movistar squad, “he’s on home soil.”