Team England’s Commonwealth Games stars were a huge part of Great Britain’s impressive medal haul at the World Track Cycling Championships in London over the past few days.
Sir Bradley Wiggins was among the successes and the quadruple Commonwealth silver medallist claims he couldn’t have asked for a better way to mark potentially his final World Championship appearance.
Wiggins, who has focused on road cycling in recent years but returned to the track in time for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, won a silver medal in the team pursuit before going one better in the madison on Sunday.
Partnering Mark Cavendish, the duo – who won World gold the last time they competed in the madison eight years ago – produced a sterling display to repeat that at Lee Valley VeloPark.
The British pair dragged themselves into contention 168 laps into the 200-lap race as they gained a crucial lap on the peloton, after consistently picking up points in the prior sprints.
It may have seemed as if the duo had left their move too late but Wiggins insists everything went perfectly to plan.
“We knew we would have the legs the later it got into the race but we knew the Spanish were strong and they kept trying,” he explained.
“We kept biding our time and knew everyone was on their knees and it became now or never because we didn’t come here to finish fourth.
“Fortunately we had racked up enough points early on but that was bloody hard.
“It was a home Worlds and you don’t get many of those although I’ve been fortunate enough to have three of them in the last 18 years.
“I rode this event for the first time in 1998 with Rob Hayles. This was my last, so what better way than to do it with Mark. It was my last race on this track as well, so not a bad way to go out.”
Great Britian ultimately topped the overall medal table with five golds, one silver and three bronzes and one of those golds was Laura Trott’s omnium triumph on Sunday.
The reigning Olympic and European omnium champion, in addition to being Commonwealth points race champion, Trott added the World title – her third medal of the week after team pursuit bronze and scratch race gold – to her collection.
She finished third in Sunday morning’s 500m time trial and third in the flying lap event before calmly navigating the points race to beat France’s Laurie Berthon and USA’s Sarah Hammer into second and third.
Trott last won the omnium World title in 2012 during the build-up to the London Olympic Games, where she also won gold, and appears to be on course to repeat that double.
“It’s taken me four years to get this jersey back in the omnium,” said Trott. “I cannot thank (coach) Paul Manning enough.
“Last year I was so disappointed to get silver again and to have such a bad scratch race – it just spurred us on and made us think about it. It’s down to him that I’m back in the rainbow jersey.
“It’s about executing your plan. And if one race goes wrong in the omnium, that’s it – you’re a lot of points down.
“But once I took that first set of five points early in the points race I was settled then – I was into that race and I loved every minute of it.”
Meanwhile, Trott’s fiancé and double Commonwealth silver medallist Jason Kenny had a sterling World Championships himself, proving he is back to his best by dramatically winning the men’s sprint title on Saturday.
He also made the keirin final on Sunday and while missing out on a medal, the 27-year-old believes the signs are positives with Rio just five months away.
“I ran out of legs really quickly in that keirin final, which I expected. I was pleased how I got to the final though – I got there efficiently, but couldn't quite get down to the black line.
“The main thing for me and the sprint lads is that we're fast enough to be competitive with five months to go to the one we want to win.”