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Briton Wiggins claims pursuit gold

Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins led from start to finish.
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- Bradley Wiggins earned Britain's second Olympic cycling gold medal by beating Australia's Brad McGee in the final of the men's four-kilometer individual pursuit.

Wiggins streaked to victory in four minutes 16.304 seconds --more than a second slower than the Olympic record he set in qualifying on Friday but still 4.132 seconds quicker than his Australian opponent.

Wiggins' success followed compatriot Chris Hoy's victory in the one-kilometer time trial on Friday.

But Wiggins said the inspiration for his gold medal quest had been British cycling team boss Chris Boardman's gold-winning performance in Barcelona in 1992.

"I decided I really wanted to win the gold," said Wiggins. "It all came together and went really well."

Sergi Escobar of Spain beat British rider Rob Hayles to win the bronze medal race.

In the men's team sprint Germany took the title in a time of 43.980 seconds. Japan won silver in 44.246 seconds with defending champions France taking bronze at 44.359 seconds.

The result gave German 34-year-old Jens Fiedler the third gold medal of his Olympic career. Stefan Nimke, who earned a bronze medal in the time trial on Friday, and Rene Wolff made up Germany's trio.

"Our team spirit was really good," said Fiedler. "We knew we had a good chance but to win was a dream."

The world record fell twice in qualifying for the women's three-kilometer pursuit with world champion Sarah Ulmer of New Zealand hitting back after seeing her world best mark beaten by Australia's Katie Mactier.

Mactier beat Dutch defending Olympic champion Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel in a time of three minutes 29.945 seconds to break the record Ulmer had set at the world championships in May.

But Ulmer then won her heat in 3:26.279, slicing 4.325 seconds off her previous best and more than three seconds off Mactier's effort.

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