NATIONAL hero Bradley Wiggins insists he has no interest in a knighthood, virtually the only honour to still elude him after he triggered wild celebrations by sweeping to a fourth Olympic gold medal in the men’s cycling time trial yesterday.
Wiggins beat world champion Tony Martin of Germany by a comprehensive 42 seconds over the 40km course near Richmond, just two weeks after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France, with compatriot Chris Froome claiming bronze.
A seventh medal in total saw the Kilburn-raised 31-year-old become Britain’s most decorated Olympian of all time, surpassing Sir Steve Redgrave’s six, and the most successful cyclist in the history of the Games – but he laughed off talk of a different kind of title.
“Sir Wiggo? It doesn’t quite sound right, does it?” he said. “As much of an honour as it would be to receive something like that, I don’t think I’d ever use it. I’d just put in a drawer. I’ll always just be Brad.”
Wiggins, who said he planned to celebrate with “a few vodka and tonics”, spoke of the greatest moment of an already distinguished career that had previously earned him gold in three track cycling events, the Madison and the team and individual pursuits.
But a man known for speaking his mind reserved some criticism for London 2012 organisers for keeping the “real fans” away from the medal ceremony, as he explained why, following his triumph, he rode back out of the Hampton Court Palace gates to roads thick with spectators.
“I wanted to go and see my wife, and also all the people that had come to stand by the roadside and shout for the whole thing,” he said.
“We all know about Olympic ticketing. The great thing about cycling normally is that anyone can come and watch it. Here you’ve got to be one of the chosen few to get in and it’s a bit of a prawn sandwich-fest.”
Wiggins admitted his pride at even being mentioned alongside Redgrave and track cycling great Sir
Chris Hoy, and stressed that anything other than gold would have been disappointing. “The most important statistic for me today was [gold] No4 and not [medal] No7,” he added.
Froome, tipped to challenge Wiggins on the grand tours after finishing runner-up in Paris last month, was a further 26 seconds behind Martin as defending champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland failed to mount a challenge.