While much of the post-race focus following Saturday’s road cycling event was on a rare British cycling failure, little mention was made of the significant boost to another British medal hopeful due to the crash late in the stage.
Swiss champion and Beijing 2008 time trial champion Fabian Cancellara was injured when his wheels locked as he attempted to turn tightly round a bend in the closing stages.
It not only ruled him out of the running for the final straight – a scenario the favourite Mark Cavendish also frustratingly found himself in – but it also raised doubts about whether he’d be fit enough to launch a challenge in the time trial race on Wednesday.
So while Cavendish was left reeling after another Olympic blank, his colleague Bradley Wiggins would have known that his own chances of another cycling gold medal will have increased following his Swiss rival’s collision with the railings.
Wiggins is now 2/5 favourite to cap off a fantastic year in which he became the first ever British winner of the Tour de France with a gold medal in the time trial. Wiggins won two time trial stages at the Tour, while Cancellara (9/1 to win the gold) claimed the shorter prologue stage.
A suspected broken collarbone has been ruled out, but should the Swiss champion still decide to race – he has tweeted that his chances are 50/50 – he’s unlikely to be in the best shape.
It means it’ll likely be left to Wiggins and second favourite Tony Martin (7/2) to fight off for the gold medal. Martin is the current world time trial champion but was derailed by punctures and a broken wrist at the Tour meaning he wasn’t able to hit the heights expected of him.
Wiggins, on the other hand, is in the shape of his life and Britain’s failure to get Cavendish to the sprint finish should not be seen as a sign of tiredness. Wiggins and co still looked in fine shape – as vouched by the still-grateful Cavendish, who suggested it was instead a conspiring peloton who did their best to cut the Manx missile out of the equation.
But on Wednesday it’ll be each man for themselves, a scenario few thrive in more than Wiggins. However those who followed the tour recently who suggested that Sky teammate Chris Froome was the better rider will get the chance to back their bold theory with a punt – Froome is 12/1 to take the gold.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing