London - Britain can turn the tables on
arch-rivals Australia and win the team pursuit title at the Rio Olympics after
being edged out at the world championships on Thursday, Bradley Wiggins said.
The 35-year-old former Tour de France
champion, back to his track roots as he sets his sights on crowning his career
with a fifth Olympic title, looked the strongest of Britain's quartet in a
thrilling showdown in the London velodrome.
He never wavered throughout the punishing
4,000m race but the gamble to draft in double Olympic champion Ed Clancy for
the final, just weeks after being laid flat out by a back injury, backfired as
he cracked two laps from the end.
Jonathan Dibben had already been dropped
while Australia's foursome stayed together until the end as they claimed a
sixth world title in the event in the past 11 years.
"It's disappointing but you have to
look at where we have come from with Ed especially, and we are close,"
Wiggins, who became the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012 when he also
won the Olympic road time trial, told reporters.
"I've not seen the video back but it
was close. We were there with them. We knew we would have a race on here with
them and we will have a race on in Rio and I think we'll get over the line
Britain's team manager Shane Sutton, a
stalwart throughout Wiggins' career, had told him he had to prove his worth at
the worlds if he wanted to make the Rio team.
After three strong rides it looks certain
Wiggins will get the chance to claim an eighth Olympic medal, 12 years after
winning the individual pursuit gold in Athens.
"I had a chat with Shane afterwards.
Individually it's the strongest series of team pursuing I've ever done,"
said Wiggins, who left Team Sky last year to set up his own team.
"When I won in (team pursuit) in
Beijing I was just a passenger doing one-lap turns and dropping off the pace.
"This is the strongest I've ever been
in team pursuit so there's a bit of life left in me yet."
He said the key to Olympic success will be
having four men at the finish, although he attached no blame for Thursday's
disappointment at the door of 30-year-old Clancy.
"Ed was the weakest link in the trio
at the end," he said. "But the fact he returned here was against all
the medical team's advice. At Christmas Ed was being driven to the track lying
down in the back of the van because he couldn't stand up."