Wiggins Gets Soccer-Style Support on Way to Fourth Olympic Gold

Wiggins Gets Soccer-Style Support on Way to Fourth Olympic Gold
Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain is cheered by the crowd during the Men's Individual Time Trial Road Cycling on day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games in London on August 1, 2012. Photographer: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Bradley Wiggins got soccer-style crowd support on the way to winning another Olympic gold.

The 32-year-old Londoner beat world champion Tony Martin of Germany by 42 seconds yesterday over the 27-mile (43-kilometer) men’s time trial course to Hampton Court Palace. Britain’s Chris Froome was third.

It was Wiggins’ fourth Olympic gold -- the others were in track cycling -- and seventh overall. His total is a British best, surpassing rower Steve Redgrave. Spectators chanted his nickname, “Wiggo,” 10 days after he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

“You’d have to be deaf not to hear it,” Wiggins told a news conference. “I will never again experience anything like that in my sporting career.”

Wiggins, the second-to-last of 37 riders to start the mainly flat course, finished in 50 minutes, 39.54 seconds at an average speed of 32.4 miles per hour.

He trailed Martin by 5 seconds after the first 4.5 miles before building an 11-second advantage over the German after 11 miles. He then went farther ahead as spectators chanted his name and waved British flags.

Wiggins said he asked his masseur “about five times” to check that his time was better than Martin’s before raising his arms in victory. He was awarded the gold medal in a ceremony on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, the 16th century residence of King Henry VIII.

After the last mountain stage of the Tour de France in the ski resort of Peyragudes in the Pyrenees on July 19, Wiggins had griped about reporters’ questions about whether there was a weaker-than-usual field at the race.

“The Tour you are always justifying yourself about something -- whether it’s your sideburns or the color of your trousers,” Wiggins said. “The Olympics is very positive all the time.”

Wiggins said he would celebrate with a few vodka and tonics. He plans to watch the Olympic track cycling -- in which he isn’t competing -- before going on vacation.

Froome, a Kenya-born Briton who finished second to Wiggins at the Tour de France, said he had never experienced such support in cycling.

“Not just cheering, but shouting our names,” said Froome,

27. “It leaves me with goose bumps.”

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