Cycling: Wiggomania undimmed by crashes or Mark Cavendish quit threats

World champion wants out but Sky show goes on as Rowe wins first stage of Tour of Britain

with the Tour of Britain

The chaotic scenes outside the Team Sky bus told of the towering status of the superstars within. It didn't matter that Mark Cavendish had fallen within sight of the finish, and Bradley Wiggins at the very next corner. For the many thousands packing the Norfolk Showground to the west of Norwich, Cav and Wiggo are the Tour of Britain, win or lose.

Cavendish was in position A inside the final two kilometres when the riders immediately in front went down as they entered the showground complex. The world champion had nowhere to go except over his handlebars, coming down heavily on his left shoulder. Wiggins, one of two Sky riders leading Cavendish out for the sprint to the line, was clear of trouble yet went over himself, leaving team-mate Luke Rowe to hammer across the line to take the opening 125-mile stage and claim his first win as a professional.

Cavendish had brought the roof in overnight by admitting his desire to leave the team to pursue his ambitions elsewhere. There was nothing more to add on that theme beyond his apposite collapse on the road and the metaphor it offered. Despite his obvious discomfort, Cavendish answered the febrile calls from outside and emerged from within the bus for the ritual signing session, preceded by Wiggins.

There was no sense of disappointment; Wiggins was just delighted to be back at work. "After Cav went, I overcooked the next corner and was off the front, then it was just Luke. But we won, which was the main thing. It is great for Luke, but unfortunate for Cav, he went down hard again," Wiggins said.

"Luke deserves it; he has been knocking on the door all year, has had some third and fourth places – what a day to shine for him. I have had easier days on the bike, but it was nice to be back in the team racing, to have a job, a role and routine. We will see how it goes day by day, but this tour is a tough race, so we'll have to see how it develops."

Wiggins did not arrive in Ipswich for the grand departure until midnight on Saturday, and woke to the news that Cavendish wanted out. "There are a lot of things going on which are not out there," he said. "I am as much in the dark as everyone else, but I do speak to him about things. Of course I can understand, and I have said it before – it is not easy, and it is some position you are in when the world champion has to leave to get an opportunity. That is the downfall of our own success, in a way."

The political landscape had no bearing on the reception the principal players received on the Ipswich quayside at the start of the day and thereafter along the Suffolk coast and inland to Norwich. Indeed, Wiggomania might be said to be in its infancy.

"It's on a par with the Tour de France, but you kind of expect it to be like that now with the Olympics and everything else we've done. It's not a big surprise, but it is really nice," Wiggins said. "It is hard to come to terms with, really.

"It has been a big summer for me. When I am trying to pack the shopping, and you are getting all this [fanfare], or you are trying to have a pizza with your kids in town, that is difficult. You are expected to know the answers to everything, you are the messiah, everybody wants to know what you think, but I don't know all the answers. I'm just human, at the end of the day. But then again, when you come to somewhere like this, it is brilliant and you really enjoy it."

Wiggins' return to the day job meant his absence from today's Olympic parade in central London. There is an upside, however. "I'm just glad to have three days without drinking now, and am quite happy going to bed with my peppermint tea."

The tour resumes today in Nottingham, closing in Knowsley Safari Park on Merseyside.

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain