Britain back on top as Wiggins and Cavendish blaze to gold

Sun Mar 6, 2016 8:37pm EST
 
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish provided a rip-roaring climax to the world track cycling championships with a stunning Madison victory that rocked London's velodrome to its rafters on Sunday.

The two British cycling greats, who briefly fell out when they flopped as favorites for the 200-lap event at the 2008 Beijing Games, came from nowhere to carve their way to victory and give the hosts a table-topping fifth gold medal.

It was the icing on the cake for the host nation who, after a wobbly start to the championships, ended with nine medals and crucial momentum ahead of this year's Rio Olympics.

A year ago in Paris they returned without a single rainbow jersey to show for their efforts.

Britain's first Tour de France champion Wiggins, 35, has returned to his track roots for a golden swansong by the Copacabana this year, and how he reveled in the fast and furious action always guaranteed on the boards.

He was disappointed to miss out on gold in the team pursuit earlier in the week, while 26-times Tour stage winner Cavendish's hopes of making the British track team this summer are still in the balance after omnium disappointment.

But what a show they provided as they hunted down the leading teams in relentless fashion to win gold, eight years after they did the same in Manchester.

"That was my last race on this track...and it wasn't a bad one," Wiggins, who celebrated by kissing it, said.   Continued...

 
UCI World Track Cycling Championships - London, Britain - 6/3/2016 - Sir Bradley Wiggins (R) of Britain hands over to Mark Cavendish during the madison. REUTERS/Andrew Winning