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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Wiggins claims third medal
Rob Hayles (left) takes over from Bradley Wiggins in the madison
Britain's Bradley Wiggins won his third cycling medal in Athens as he and Rob Hayles claimed a superb bronze medal in an eventful madison race.

Wiggins, who won the individual pursuit and took silver in the team pursuit, became the first Briton since 1964 to win three medals at one Games.

Hayles, who survived a crash with 90 laps to go, made up for missing a medal in a last-lap crash in Sydney in 2000.

Australia's Stuart O'Grady and Graeme Brown took gold and Switzerland silver.

Mary Rand was the last Briton to win three medals - in the long jump, the 4x100m relay and the pentathlon - at the 1964 Olympics in Toyko.

"It is still a bit unbelievable," Wiggins said. "I would have settled for just the first one.

The British public must think I'm an absolute idiot
Rob Hayles
"But I decided to go for three and I wouldn't have done that if I didn't think I had a chance of a medal."

"Perhaps after 10 pints tonight it might start to sink in a bit!"

Wiggins and Hayles, who also won a silver in the team pursuit, made a superb start to the 200-lap race, winning the opening sprint to pick up five points.

But Australia and Germany broke away early on to move a lap ahead of the field.

Wiggins picked up two points in the third sprint and another three on the fifth to leave the British pair in fourth place.

Rob Hayles (top) and Dutch rider Robert Slippens crash after colliding in the madison
I thought, "Not again!"
Rob Hayles
But they courted disaster when Hayles collided with Dutch rider Robert Slippens with barely half the race gone and crashed to the track.

"The British public must think I'm an absolute idiot," Hayles said.

"But I knew as soon as I went down I was OK and it was just a question of getting my composure back and getting back on the bike."

Hayles bravely did just that but the Ukraine, Spain, New Zealand and Swiss teams all pulled a lap back to leave Britain in seventh place with 30 laps to go.

A lung-bursting charge from Wiggins saw the pair leap into second place as he caught the back of the field on a breakaway to regain the lost lap.

"When we hit them, we hit them hard," Hayles recalled.

The Swiss duo of Franco Marvulli and Bruno Risi won the ninth and penultimate sprint with 20 laps to go to join them in second place.

Britain's medal hopes appeared in jeapordy as O'Grady - with Australia already having secured the gold - appeared to block Hayles and Switzerland hit the front in the final sprint.

But the 31-year-old - in bronze medal position four years ago before a crash heading into the final lap - kept his nerve to come home third and clinch a medal.

Australia finished with 22 points, with Switzerland scoring 15 and Britain 12.

O'Grady, 31, won his first gold medal in his fourth Olympics, to go with a silver in the team pursuit in 1992 and bronzes in the points race and team pursuit in Atlanta 1996.

It was Brown's second gold medal in Athens after helping Australia to victory in the team pursuit.

Australia also won the first-ever Olympic madison in Sydney, when Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory triumphed.





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