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Wiggins and Co. looking for Olympic golds at home in the wake of victorious Tour de France

07/26/2012 04:20 EDT | Updated 09/25/2012 05:12 EDT
WOKING, England - After three weeks of pain and hard work capped of by a historic win in the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins and his British teammates may have been forgiven for treating themselves to a nice relaxing time at their lavish Surrey retreat.

But with their home Olympics about to start, the yellow jersey-winner and the rest of the team has little time for being idle.

The mighty Brits have one single goal in their minds: propelling world champion Mark Cavendish to victory in Saturday's road race and give Britain the first gold medal of these games.

A bookmakers' favourite, Cavendish is bidding to add the Olympic title to the gold medal he won at the world championships last year.

"It's a dream team," Cavendish said on Thursday at the hotel located in the middle of the countryside, just a few miles away from the Olympic road race course. "We've got the first and second of the Tour de France, four guys who won stages at the Tour de France, the British champion, four guys incredibly motivated, four guys incredibly patriotic, incredibly loyal to each other."

Champagne did not flow on the Champs-Elysees last Sunday after Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour, and bottles are still in the fridge.

Cavendish, who won the final stage of the Tour on Champs-Elysees for a fourth consecutive time, might not even celebrate on Saturday night if he lives up to expectations and wins the medal a whole country is expecting him to get.

Cavendish said he will travel to Belgium on Sunday to race in a small event before competing in France and the Netherlands.

"I don't really celebrate anything," said a relaxed Cavendish. "Even last year after the Tour (when he won the green jersey) I did not have a party. I was the only one in the team that was not drunk."

Less than one week after team Sky stamped its authority on the Tour, with team member Christopher Froome coming second behind Wiggins, the Brits are on a mission to deliver again.

The British team will be made of Cavendish, Wiggins, Froome, David Millar — all of them having won stages during the Tour — and British champion Ian Stannard.

"If we'd want to win this bike race, we could not be in a better situation," Cavendish said.

Cavendish, a winner of 23 Tour de France stages, trained specifically for the Olympic road race over the last 12 months, losing four kilos and improving his power-to-weight ratio to be able to tackle the nine climbs of the Box Hill loop highlighting the 250-kilometre race.

Many riders and pundits expect the race to be won or lost in that section. Cavendish, who dedicated himself to Wiggins' bid to win the Tour during three weeks, will count on his teammates to protect him in the climbs.

As Sky did during the Tour, the British team is expected to ride up front on Saturday to try and control the race.

"Even with four guys around me there is no way I could go over Box Hill unscathed," Cavendish said. "I needed four of the best bike riders in the world to be able to do that."

Cavendish won the world title last year in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the same riders around him and being able to deliver him to the finish.

According to team principle Dave Brailsford, there is no doubt Wiggins will work as hard as he can for Cavendish despite his ambitions to win gold in the Olympic time trial on Aug. 1.

"He doesn't have to, but there is no doubt about the fact that he wants to," Brailsford said.

Wiggins is adamant he will finish the road race and won't try to save energy for his own ambitions.

"I've got a job to do," he said. "You've got a 250-kilometre race and three days to recover, in a nice hotel."

Wiggins, who is competing in his fourth Olympics, said he was overwhelmed by the celebrations in his country following his tour title.

"My wife got a bit ecstatic that the queen herself had sent us a letter," he said, laughing. "I was like, '(expletive) the queen! (The Smiths guitarist) Johnny Marr sent me a message on Twitter. Then she said 'It's the queen.' I said 'It's Johnny Marr, Come on!"

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