Wiggins sets sights on Olympic goldComment on this story
Bradley Wiggins is targeting Olympic gold after pedalling his way into the history books with Britain's first ever victory in the Tour de France.
The 32-year-old Londoner surged to a memorable victory in cycling's most prestigious event on Sunday but wasted no time in turning his attention to his challenge at his hometown Olympics.
“If I'm 100 per cent honest, it's gold or nothing in London now, really,” Wiggins declared. “That's the way I'm treating the next nine days.
“I can't sit here and say I'll be happy with a silver or happy with a bronze,” he added.
Wiggins admitted that adding to the three gold medals he has already accumulated at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics would not necessarily top his Tour win, which he described as the “greatest day of my sporting life.”
“Would a gold medal in London top it? It's a separate thing. As it stands the icing is on the cake. Coming off the back of this, it would add the hundreds and thousands on top,” he said.
“I've made so many improvements in my time trialling ... it's realistic to think I can win gold now.”
Meanwhile Wiggins awoke on Monday to find images of his Tour win splashed across the front pages of Britain's press, who were unanimous in saying the cyclist now firmly belonged in the pantheon of British sporting greats.
Many said Wiggins could now expect to be honoured with a knighthood for his achievement while some reports speculated he may also now enter the frame as the man to light Olympic flame at Friday's opening ceremony.
“Wiggo hailed UK's greatest sportsman,” tabloid The Mirror ran across its front page.
Popular tabloid The Sun said “a new British hero” had been immortalised, comparing Wiggins to cricketer Ian Botham, footballer Bobby Moore and Olympic rowing legend Steve Redgrave.
“It's only a shame we have to wait until the New Year's honours list to hear the Queen say, “Arise, Sir Bradley,” it added.
The Daily Mail led with “£20m and a knighthood next for wonderful Wiggins,” echoing calls for the three-time Olympic gold medalist to be honoured by the queen.
Meanwhile, The Daily Star called for Wiggins to light the Olympic flame at Friday's ceremony, although he is due to compete in the men's road race the following day.
The Times, which carried a souvenir cover celebrating the “Promenade des Anglais”, said Wiggins had “proved to be a great champion of British sport. He has also shown himself to be a fine man.”
Britain's Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said Wiggins' victory was a huge achievement.
“In terms of individual sporting achievements, I am struggling to think of a better one,” he said.
Jonathan Edwards, who won gold in the triple jump at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said it was “one of the best (achievements) of all time by a British sportsman”. – AFP