Sir Bradley Wiggins helped England to a silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Thursday, teaming up with Steven Burke, Ed Clancy and Andy Tennant as runners-up to Australia in the men’s 4,000-metre team pursuit cycling.
The reigning world champions, Australia, simply blew Wiggins and Co. aside at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, setting a new Commonwealth record on their way to the gold medal, as Martyn McLaughlin of The Scotsman revealed:
A new Commonwealth record for Australia with 3.54.851 as they deny #Glasgow2014 its first showpiece moment, with Wiggins + Eng taking silver— Martyn McLaughlin (@MartynMcL) July 24, 2014
Wiggins now has a fourth Commonwealth silver medal to add to his trophy cabinet, per BBC Sport’s Ben Smith, but claiming his first gold never really looked like it would happen against the powerful Australians.
Not to be for Sir Bradley Wiggins. Four Commonwealth silver medals but not a single gold.— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) July 24, 2014
It was a clean start for England, though, with Clancy leading the charge, but Australia established a healthy lead in the very first lap and never really looked like surrendering it as the race progressed.
However, the Aussies did look under pressure when they lost the services of Luke Davison just over halfway through the race, but all his absence seemed to do was kick Jack Bobridge, Alex Edmondson and Glenn O’Shea into life.
They seemed to find the necessary extra gear with three men left on the track, and managed to open up an even-healthier lead while being a man lighter.
It was always going to take something special to defeat the Australian team, and six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy told BBC Sport that the English can take a lot of positives from winning silver against such a talented nation:
When Australia were down to three men we thought England might be back in with a chance but that's an incredible performance from Australia. It's sent a message out certainly. England will be disappointed. It's not all about Bradley Wiggins, it's a team effort. It's a silver medal but still a medal nonetheless.
For Wiggins, the chance to win a first Commonwealth gold medal goes begging once again. Sky Sports’ Orla Chennaoui reported that the 34-year-old looked visibly distraught after claiming yet another silver medal:
Sir Bradley Wiggins looking dejected after Australia take TP gold with new Games record. Another Commonwealth silver for Wiggins.— Orla Chennaoui (@SkyOrla) July 24, 2014
Though the 2012 Tour de France champion headed into the Australia ranks to congratulate the victors, his facial expression told the story rather than the handshakes—looking in pain at the reality of defeat.
A medal is a medal, though, and for the England team in Scotland, it’s another to add to their already impressive tally.
Whether Wiggins has the chance to add a Commonwealth gold to his personal tally remains to be seen, but for now, the Englishman's focus will be on tuning up for next year's Olympic Games—where we know he has the ability to reach the top of the podium.