Wiggins and McGee in rematch

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The Independent Online

Bradley Wiggins is guaranteed at least a silver medal in Britain's team pursuit race-off against Australia today to add to the "dream" gold he won in the individual event in the velodrome here on Saturday.

Bradley Wiggins is guaranteed at least a silver medal in Britain's team pursuit race-off against Australia today to add to the "dream" gold he won in the individual event in the velodrome here on Saturday.

The twist in the tale is that the 24-year-old Londoner will again go head-to-head with his close friend and greatest rival, Brad McGee, whom he beat to claim the individual event.

Wiggins and his teammates Steve Cummings, Paul Manning and Chris Newton secured today's showdown with McGee's Australia by clocking 3min 59.866sec, just outside the Olympic record, to beat France yesterday. The Australians then upped the ante by breaking their own world record to progress past Lithuania in 3min 56.342sec.

"This has been something I've wanted to do since I was 12 years old, since watching Chris Boardman win the gold medal in Barcelona," Wiggins said after his win on Saturday. Boardman is now his coach.

"Chris really changed everything," Wiggins said. "My training, my mental approach. It really simplified the pursuit for me. I think I hugged him at the finish line but there were so many British t-shirts there I didn't get to see anyone's face."

McGee, who beat Wiggins in the Commonwealth Games final two years ago, but was absent from last year's world championships which Wiggins won, was magnanimous in defeat in the individual event.

"It's a pleasure to race against you," he told Wiggins. He added: "I love that rivalry that two competitors can have on the track and still go out later and have a beer together. On the track he's every enemy I've ever met. But it's a pleasure to be able to be friends afterwards."

After the Sydney Olympics, McGee spent two years road racing in Europe before returning to the track to pip Wiggins in Manchester and then take the 2002 world championships.

"Brad [McGee] sent a message to the world when he came back to track racing and put a new level on pursuiting," Wiggins said. "That was a bit of a shock for everyone."

After working with Boardman, Wiggins made winning Olympic gold his priority, meaning his own road racing career, with the Credit Agricole team, has been playing second fiddle. "But that was all part of the sacrifice," he said, "to be in what had to be the form of my life."

On Saturday, Wiggins said, the pre-race nerves were "horrible". He overcame them, and McGee, inspired by a burst of Oasis's "Champagne Supernova" on his iPod. Expect the rematch in the team event to be effervescent.

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