Bradley Wiggins makes history
Bradley Wiggins became Great Britain's most decorated Olympian ever with an imperious victory in the London 2012 time-trial on Wednesday.
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The 32-year-old, who is also the first man to win the Tour de France and an Olympic title in the same year, claimed his fourth career Games gold and seventh medal in all to surpass Sir Steve Redgrave's haul.
Wiggins was the penultimate of 37 riders to take to the course and completed the 44-kilometre route in 50 minutes 39 seconds to triumph by 42 seconds, with fellow Briton Chris Froome third in 51mins 47secs.
World champion Tony Martin of Germany clocked 51:21 to claim silver while defending champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland was seventh, 2:14 behind.
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Wiggins said: "To go out there today and put a performance like that together nine days after the Tour and win another Olympic title in another event, it is never, ever going to get any better than that.
"There is almost slight melancholy. I realised on the podium that that's probably it for me. I don't think anything is going to top that."
Wiggins has won three individual titles and one team gold medal and seven medals in all in a range of disciplines from 4km in the individual and team pursuit, to the 40km Madison and the time-trial.
The British record haul, which, given five-time medallist Sir Chris Hoy is competing in two events in the velodrome, is now set to stand until Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Wiggins, who plans a vodka tonic celebration, said: "To be mentioned in the same breath as people like Steve Redgrave and Chris Hoy is an honour. Ultimately it's all about the gold medals once you've been Olympic champion.
"The other ones, you don't really talk about them. When somebody says how many medals have you won at the Olympics? Normally you say 'I've won three golds', never 'a silver and two bronze'.
"There was only one colour today. The most important statistic is number four for me and not number seven."
Wiggins could target a fifth in Rio, depending on the reaction of his wife Cath.
He added: "I could envisage, depending on what my wife thinks, going back to the track in the team pursuit where it all started and trying to win a fifth. But that's a long way off."
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Qualifying in the men's team pursuit takes place in the velodrome on Thursday, with finals on Friday, and Wiggins plans to watch his former colleagues, as well as Hoy, in the keirin.
As for the longer-term future - the prospect of a knighthood, winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year and all the other accolades - Wiggins is uncertain.
"You train all year for the physical aspect, to try and get the results; you can't train or plan for what comes next," added Wiggins, who has been in peerless form all season.
"I don't know what comes next. External perception might change, but inside you're still the same person.
"You want to go back to normal life. Whether that happens or not is a different thing. You just deal with it as you go along - it's why people end up in The Priory, I guess.
"I'm glad it's over. I've lived for August 1 for nine months knowing it was all going to be over and I could go and have a vodka tonic.
"It's here now. It's done and I've won the Tour and I've won the Olympics, Paris-Nice and all those other races."
Wiggins, who grew up in London and now lives in Lancashire, hopes to have helped to leave a legacy after being spurred on by the partisan crowd.
"Something like today, whether you're first or last, someone will be inspired out there who is watching it," he added.
"The great thing about cycling is when this is all over in a couple of weeks anyone can go and ride that circuit and pretend they're one of us.
"Hopefully that will be the legacy the road events leave."
Wiggins's performance left his compatriots and rivals purring.
British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford said: "To pull off a performance like that off the back of what he's been through over the last few weeks is - phew - off the scale."
Brailsford believes Wiggins's versatility, as well as the statistics, distinguishes him as Britain's best Olympian.
"I don't think anybody can touch that," Brailsford added.
Martin beat Wiggins to the world title in 2011, but was runner-up on this occasion.
"This year he's unbeatable," Martin said.
Cancellara said: "He had his perfect ride today. He's on another level."