Wiggins adds pursuit silver to medal haul

Britain's track cyclists have set themselves such high standards that silver medals are almost a disappointment. The team pursuit team of Steve Cummings, Paul Manning, Chris Newton and Bradley Wiggins lost to Australia in the race for gold here yesterday as the world champions confirmed their supremacy in the event.

Britain's track cyclists have set themselves such high standards that silver medals are almost a disappointment. The team pursuit team of Steve Cummings, Paul Manning, Chris Newton and Bradley Wiggins lost to Australia in the race for gold here yesterday as the world champions confirmed their supremacy in the event. "We have got to a level where we want to win all the time," Dave Brailsford, the British performance director, said after the race.

Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, Brad McGee and Luke Roberts never threatened the world record of 3min 56.610sec they set in the first round on Sunday, but their winning time of 3:58.233 was enough to secure a winning margin of more than three seconds. It also brought a measure of revenge for McGee, who had lost to Wiggins in the race for the individual gold medal on Saturday.

A gold and a silver, however, represent a stunning achievement by 24-year-old Wiggins, who is still hoping to add to his medal collection here. Wiggins, who has also been making a name for himself in Europe as a road cyclist, and Rob Hayles are both fancied to perform well in the madison. Britain also have medal prospects in the keirin with Jamie Staff and the points race with Chris Newton. With Chris Hoy having also won gold in the one-kilometre time trial, these Games are proving as big a success for the British team as Sydney four years ago.

The team pursuit is a spectacular event, with eight cyclists on the track riding head down in search of pure speed. The race is run over four kilometres, with the teams of four riders starting on opposite sides of the track. They ride in as tight a line as possible to maximise the benefit of slipstreaming. After one lap at the front, the lead rider swings off to let the next man set the pace. The idea is to catch the other team, though at this level races are nearly always settled on time difference.

Australia have been the outstanding nation at this discipline for several years now and the form they had shown in reaching the final meant that Britain knew they had to ride the race of their lives if they were to challenge. They chose to gamble by riding a larger gear, in the hope that they could outpace the Australians without losing too much time in the early stages as they built up speed.

The tactic appeared to make little difference to the result. Although the Australians established an early lead, quickly opening up a gap of more than a second, the British had cut that back by the 1,000m mark. However, the British were never able to get up to the Australians' speed and the margin gradually grew as the race unfolded.

"The Australians have set the standard over the last five years and we knew that it would take something really special to beat them," Brailsford said. "We decided to gear up and go for gold because we thought that might just make the difference for us. We knew that if it failed we would still have the silver medal, but the lads are really disappointed. They thought they could win."

Wiggins paid tribute to the gold medallists. "The Australians are the best team there has ever been," he said. "When there are teams like them up against you there's not very much you can do."

Manning said that he had been concentrating so much on his own ride that he had no idea how far ahead the Australians were at the end. "The Australians set the best qualifying times, but we were riding to our own plan and we thought we could win," he said. "I'm pleased to get the silver, but ultimately there's disappointment in the team because we were going for the gold."

Cummings, Hayles, Manning and Wiggins were not the only British riders to feel the pain of defeat. Newton and Bryan Steel rode in the earlier rounds and Brailsford faced a difficult decision over who to select for the final because he knew the organisers would not award any additional medals. It was a particular sadness for Steel, who is retiring after the Games.

It was Australia's third cycling gold of the Games. McGee, who is competing in his third Olympics, took his medal tally to five, but this was his first gold. "As an Australian, this is paradise," he said. "This is the top of the top. This is as good as it gets. Since I was 17 years old I wanted to win this medal for Australia, and today we did it."

Wiggins, 24, and McGee, 28, are good friends off the track and the Briton had words of high praise for the gold medallist. "He is a fantastic athlete, a fantastic competitor," Wiggins said. "It has taken him three Games but he finally got it. I'd have rather taken it off him but it went the way it went. I'm pleased for him."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week