The Punter: Gold opportunity for Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish
Published 26/07/2012 | 08:00
Bradley Wiggins is rightly the golden boy of cycling after becoming the first British winner of the Tour de France — and will be expected to strike gold in London.
But it won't be in Saturday's Olympic Road Race as that is destined to be won by Mark Cavendish.
Uniquely, this is the only team event in which just one member picks up the gold medal and Britain have designated the greatest sprint racer for that honour.
Cavendish played his part in ensuring Wiggins took the victory salute in France while the roles were reversed as the former won two of the Tour's last three stages including the sprint up the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.
And it will be Wiggins doing the donkey work along with Chris Froome, David Millar and Ian Stannard as Britain go for gold in the opening event for which Cavendish is 11/8 favourite.
Racing again so soon after the Tour is not a problem. It's part and parcel of the professional cyclist's routine and, indeed, some of the French competitors were back in action the following day.
Wiggins owes Cavendish after the pair's failure to land the madison event in Beijing four years ago.
They went into the race as world champions and were expected to triumph but Wiggins, having suffered a pre-Games illness and having won two earlier golds, couldn’t give Cavendish the support he needed and they finished only ninth, leaving Cav as the only team member without a medal in 2008.
Wiggins has six Olympic medals under his belt, three of them gold, and he's the 11-10 favourite to add a fourth in the time trial at the expense of Fabian Cancellara.
Expect Cavendish and Wiggins to strike gold and then lump on Wiggins to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.