Today at the Olympics: Bradley Wiggins can overtake Steve Redgrave and earn place in record books

Tour de France winner chasing his seventh Olympic medal today in time trial and his chances are good, his coach tells Alasdair Fotheringham

Bradley Wiggins said recently that only gold counts for him in this afternoon's men's time trial – but perhaps he's wrong. Ten days after he secured Britain's first ever victory in the 108-year-old Tour de France, Wiggins would still make it into the Olympic history books as the most bemedalled British athlete ever with "just" a podium place this afternoon.

Click HERE to view graphic

Wiggins, 32, has already visited an Olympic podium six times in his career, for three golds, two silvers and a bronze, the same total as Sir Steve Redgrave, who has five golds and a bronze. And the British Cycling team management, for one, are convinced that the mutton-chopped rider from Kilburn is on target for a top-three placing this afternoon at the very least.

"We're in the ballpark, for sure," British men's road coach, Rod Ellingworth, told The Independent. "Bradley did a damn good job on Saturday" – his mission being to work his fingers to the bone for Cavendish in the road race, which he duly did – "so we can't complain about that."

"But Bradley's up for this [Wednesday] now as well and looking pretty good. He definitely could win this race."

The 44-kilometre course itself features a couple of very minor climbs, but is "mainly flat, nothing major at all, it's ideal for Bradley and will be for [Fabian] Cancellara, too." Doubts still linger over the condition of Cancellara, the 2008 Olympic and four-time world champion. He was a winner of the Tour's prologue ahead of Wiggins but crashed out, badly bruising his right shoulder, in the men's road race. His participation in the time trial was only confirmed on Monday.

World time-trial champion Tony Martin is another of Wiggins' top rivals with a question mark hanging over his form. Martin fractured his wrist in a Tour crash, abandoned that race after 10 days and pulled out on Saturday, saying the pain was too bad.

That means Wiggins is the only top pre-Olympic favourite whose condition is unquestionably at 100 per cent. Or as Martin put it yesterday: "Wiggins is the man to beat."

With something of a power vacuum emerging, there is also a strong chance that Chris Froome, second behind Wiggins in both long Tour de France time trials, finds his own way on to the podium as well. "You never know. There's definitely no issue about [Froome and Wiggins'] overtiredness after the Tour, we've handled the recovery issue well," Ellingworth says.

As the British road coach points out, in the Tour "your system has been working at 100 per cent". After the finish in Paris on 22 July therefore, it has just been a question of the British athletes maintaining peak condition and not "overcooking", rather than trying to build towards it.

According to Ellingworth, that particular piece of the jigsaw has fallen neatly into place. The British team looked at Wiggins' numbers – his power output and so forth on Sunday after the road race – and he was still in race-perfect condition. That is partly explained, Ellingworth said, by the fact that, compared with the four days of intensive racing the Londoner had before the Saturday time trial of the Tour, "he's had a third of the workload to deal with, plenty of time to rest.

"So when you think of it fitness-wise, of course he can do it. There's no concerns at all with that. The guys have shown good form, they are raring to go and have done all the right kind of build-up that they can do. So we're pretty happy."

Wiggins also has other factors on his side – such as an unbroken record of victories in all the time-trial events he has taken part in this year in stage races, from the Tour of the Algarve in February through to both stages in the Tour de France.

"It'd be a shame if Cancellara wasn't there," Ellingworth reflects, "because then it'd be a proper big duel like the World Championships last year" –where a three-way battle between Wiggins, Cancellara and Martin produced a thrilling time-trial race, with the Briton taking silver behind Martin – "and the best man wins."

But as Ellingworth also points out, you can only beat whoever turns up on the day, with Cadel Evans of Australia, fifth in the Beijing time trial, one notable absentee today.

Nor do Britain's medal hopes in the time-trial events start and finish with Wiggins and Froome. The light climber's build of Emma Pooley, a surprise silver medallist in Beijing, will not be favoured by London's far flatter course – but at the same time she has made huge progress against the clock since 2008.

Pooley was world time-trial champion in Australia in 2010 and bronze medallist in Denmark last year, and her darting attacks in the road race's hilly segment on Sunday set things up perfectly for Lizzie Armitstead – also racing today, although not a time-trial specialist – to go clear.

Defending Olympic gold, Kristin Armstrong of the US is one key rival, and so too Judith Arndt, world time-trial champion last year in Denmark – although Armstrong, who crashed in May, breaking her collarbone, admits she has rushed her recovery to make it to the Games.

In contrast, all four Britons participating today are in top shape and blessedly injury-free, and one is already a 2012 Olympic medallist – a morale boost across the board. But if Wiggins clinches his seventh Olympic medal, it will put the Londoner in a class of his own in all British sports, not just cycling.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



What's on TV...

TV: 9am-1pm, BBC 1

11.50am Rowing Women's pairs final, with home favourites Helen Glover and Heather Stanning hoping to be involved. The women's quadruple sculls final follows at 12.10pm and men's eights final at 12.30pm – including a 40-year-old Greg Searle, looking to add to his gold medal in the coxed pairs from the 1992 Barcelona games.

12pm Sailing Men's laser races 5 & 6. Paul Goodison continues the defence of his title.

12.30pm Cycling Women's individual time trial. Emma Pooley carries British hopes around Hampton Court and Surrey, seeking to improve on her silver from Beijing four years ago.

TV: 1-1.45pm, BBC 2; 1.45-6pm, BBC 1

2.15pm Cycling Men's individual time trial. Bradley Wiggins could not help Mark Cavendish to glory in last Saturday's road race but is still riding the crest of a wave following last month's Tour de France victory and will be among the favourites for gold on the streets of Surrey this afternoon. Chris Froome and the Irishmen Daniel Martin and David McCann also take part, along with the road race winner Alexandre Vinokourov.

3pm Diving Men's synchronised 3m springboard final. Chris Baker and Nicholas Robinson-Baker go for Britain.

3.15pm Canoe Slalom Men's K1 final. Featuring Britain's Richard Hounslow (below).

3.30pm Shooting Women's 25m pistol final.

Water polo Women's Group B: Great Britain v Australia. The hosts seek to recover from Monday's defeat to Russia.

4pm Hockey Men's Pool A: South Africa v Great Britain. The men's side aim to build on Monday's win over Argentina.

Judo Women's -70kg gold-medal contest. Followed at 4.10pm by the men's -90kg gold-medal contest.

4.15pm Handball Women's Group A: Great Britain v Brazil. Losses to Montenegro and Russia have left GB bottom of the table.

4.30pm Gymnastics Men's individual all-around final. After helping the men's team to bronze on Monday, Daniel Purvis and Kristian Thomas take part in the individual event, after both qualified in the top 10.

4.45pm Basketball Women's Group B: Great Britain v Russia. Successive defeats to Australia and Canada have left GB with work to do.

Volleyball Women's Pool A: Great Britain v Italy.

One win and one defeat thus far leave the home side's hopes in the balance.

TV: 6-7pm, BBC 2; 7-10pm, BBC 1

7.30pm Swimming The finals continue at the pool. The men's 200m breaststroke final kicks things off, followed by the women's 200m butterfly final at 8.09pm. At 8.16pm the men's 100m freestyle final takes place, while the women's 4x200m freestyle relay follows at 8.59pm.

7.45pm Football Men's Group A: Great Britain v Uruguay. Stuart Pearce's side face their final group match in Cardiff seeking the draw that will take them through to the last eight. An opening draw with Senegal preceded victory over the UAE and another win here would see them top the group.

TV: 10-10.40pm, BBC 2

Additional coverage BBC3, 9am-11pm; BBCi

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year