Chris Hoy Beijing 2008

Chris Hoy, knighted for services to sport in the 2009 New Year Honours List, won his first Olympic cycling gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. On that occasion, he won the one-kilometre time trial, breaking the Olympic record in the process, but subsequently switched his attention to keirin and sprint events, with no little success.

Indeed, at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Hoy put us online blackjack playing schlubs to shame by contesting the team sprint, keirin and individual sprint and won gold medals in all three events. In so doing, he became the first Briton since Henry Taylor, at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, to win three gold medals at the same Olympic Games and the most successful male Olympic cyclist in history.

At he Laoshan Velodrome, on the western outskirts of the Beijing, Hoy and team-mates Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff set a new world record of 42.950 seconds in qualifying for the team sprint and, in the final, beat the French trio of Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Arnaud Tornant by more than half a second. The following day, ‘The Flying Scotsman’, as Hoy was popularly known, was imperious in the keirin, going for home with a lap remaining in the final and cruising to victory over compatriot Ross Edgar in a time of 10.450 seconds. In the individual sprint, Hoy and Kenny were the fastest qualifiers and, fittingly, met in the final; Hoy won the final in two straight heats to complete his notable hat-trick. Some would say you need an element of good fortune, others would declare the feat pure skill. When I’m on much the same thoughts run through my mind!

Watch Chris Hoy at the Beijing Olympics

Bradley Wiggins Wins Tour de France 2012

Sir Bradley Wiggins was knighted in the 2013 New Years Honours for services to cycling after becoming the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012. Representing Team Sky, Wiggins took charge of the overall classification and, with it, the signature yellow jersey, after stage seven, a 199km course from Tomblaine in northeastern France to the summit of La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges Mountains, in which he finished third to teammate Chris Froome. Two days later, Wiggins recorded his first Tour stage win, on stage nine, a individual time trial over 41.5km between Arc-et-Senans and Besancon.

Wiggins maintained his lead for the remaining stages of the race and finally secured victory by winning the nineteenth, and penultimate, stage, another individual time trial over 53.5km between Bonneval and Chartres. He punched the air as he crossed the line, safe in the knowledge that, barring accidents of the final, 120km stage – effectively a ceremonial procession – from Rambouillet to the Champs-Élysées in Paris the following day, he would win the overall classification. That he did, completing the twenty-stage, 3,497-kilometre race 3 minutes and 21 seconds ahead of Sky teammate Chris Froome.

In an outstanding year, Wiggins also won the Paris-Nice race and the Criterium du Dauphine, the two biggest races in France after the Tour de France, the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland and a gold medal in the time-trial event at the London Olympics. Wiggins retired from cycling in late 2016 but, two years later, a report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee stated that he, and Team Sky, has ‘crossed an ethical line’, by using drugs that, while allowed under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules, were intended to boost performance, rather than treat medical need, in preparation for the Tour de France.

Watch Bradley Wiggins Wins Tour de France 2012