Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins says that when it comes to medals, the only colour that matters is gold after his win in yesterday's time trial.
Wiggins now has seven medals from four Games, six of which came on the track in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, taking him past Sir Steve Redgrave’s total of six. Yet he is still behind the rower on the only leaderboard that counts for him: the number of Olympic golds won.
Wiggins’s effort yesterday earned him his fourth gold but Redgrave has won five. “To be mentioned in the same breath as Sir Steve Redgrave or Sir Chris Hoy is an honour as it is but it is all about the golds,” said Wiggins, the Tour de France winner. “Once you have been an Olympic champion, you don’t talk about the other medals.
“If asked, I will normally say ‘I won three golds’ because that’s the only colour that matters. If I hadn’t won yesterday, a medal of another colour would have been no more than a consolation prize. The most important statistic is number four, not number seven.”
Wiggins will watch some of his former track team-mates in the velodrome today before he takes a well-deserved holiday. The last few weeks have been memorable for the 32-year-old, who became the first British man to win the Tour in its 99-year history last month.
Yet Wiggins is already looking to what his gold in London might mean for cycling in Britain. This is a great era for British cycling, with Chris Froome, who finished runner-up to Wiggins in the Tour, taking bronze yesterday, while Mark Cavendish missed out on gold in the road race but is a star of the sport.
Wiggins said: “People keep banging on about legacy and it’s about riders who perform and can inspire the next generation. The cycling facility we rode on during the time trial did not cost anything to use. I didn’t get the impression they’d resurfaced the road, either, because it was terrible in places. But anybody can ride that circuit, anyone can pretend to be one of the riders who took part in the time trial.
“I hope that’s the legacy the road events leave. So many cyclists go up Box Hill and that was a part of the Olympic road race.”
Froome’s role in the Tour was to help Wiggins to victory and his bronze yesterday was hugely impressive. “One day, I’d like to lead a team and win the Tour,” said Froome. “The support yesterday was amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever experience anything like it again.”