Who are Great Britain's greatest ever track cyclists?

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Updated: Who are Great Britain’s best ever track cyclists?

After Sir Bradley Wiggins wins an eighth Olympic medal, how do Britain's other stars of the track - past and present - match up?

Sir Bradley Wiggins became Britain’s most decorated Olympian at the Rio 2016 Games, when the British team pursuit quartet won gold – Wiggins’ eighth Olympic medal.

Wiggins has five gold medals to his name since making his Olympic debut at Sydney in 2000, with one silver medal and two bronzes taking his career tally to eight.

Bradley Wiggins is part of Team GB’s team pursuit quartet at Rio 2016 (Pic: Michael Poole)

It saw Wiggins overtake Sir Chris Hoy, who closed his career at London 2012 with seven Olympic medals – six of which were gold – and he wasn’t the only rider making history in Rio.

Ed Clancy, Jason Kenny and Laura Trott all achieved historic wins too, affirming their places as some of Britain’s greatest ever track cyclists.

The list of British Olympic medal winners on the track, or track world champions, is like a who’s who of the great and good of British cycle sport history. The likes of Charles Holland, Tommy Godwin, Tom Simpson and Wiggins all won Olympic medals before their success on the road.

So how do the rest of Britain’s track stars, past and present, match up to Wiggins, Hoy et al on the boards?

We’ve selected 12 of the best British track cyclists below. Anybody else you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Sir Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins has led the charge for British cycling as the sport has gone from strength to strength on these shores, pairing track success with becoming Britain’s first ever Tour de France winner.

Wiggins won his first Olympic medal at the 2000 Olympic Games, a bronze in the team pursuit, and has not looked back since – adding six more medals to his palmares on the boards, and a further gold medal on the road in the London 2012 time trial.

Sir Bradley Wiggins celebrates his fifth Olympic gold medal (pic: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

His decision to return to the track for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with the aim of signing off his career with a British record eighth Olympic medal, saw him help power the team pursuit quartet in Brazil.

– Is Sir Bradley Wiggins Britain’s greatest ever cyclist? –

Since switching back to the track, Wiggins has won his fourth Commonwealth Games silver medal, set a new UCI Hour Record, won a European gold for the first time and won Great Britain’s 100th ever gold medal at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, when he paired up with Mark Cavendish to win the Madison in London this year.

Even without his eighth Olympic medal, Wiggins could be considered one of Britain’s greatest ever track cyclists – gold in Rio has only confirmed that.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – four gold, one silver, two bronze; World Championships – seven gold, four silver, one bronze; European Championships – one gold; Commonwealth Games (for England) – four silver.

Sir Chris Hoy

Scotland’s Chris Hoy is not only Britain’s most successful ever Olympian – with more gold medals (six) and the second-most medals of any colour (seven) – he is also the most successful Olympic cyclist of all-time.

The powerful Scot sprinted to silver at the Sydney Games in the team sprint, before winning the kilo time trial in Athens four years later – one of two British cyclists to win gold in Greece, alongside Wiggins.

Sir Chris Hoy is Britain’s most successful Olympian (Credit: Vaughn Ridley/SWPix.com)

In Beijing, Hoy, who racked up 25 world championship medals (11 gold), became the first British athlete to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games for a century.

And, of course, he then signed off with two gold medals at London 2012 to set a new British record of six Olympic gold medals in a career.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – six gold, one silver; World Championships – 11 gold, eight silver, six bronze; European Championships – one bronze; Commonwealth Games (for Scotland) – two gold, two bronze

Jason Kenny

Jason Kenny went into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with three gold medals to his name and enjoying a resurgence in form in the track sprint events in perfect time.

Men’s sprint victory at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships was just his third gold at the Worlds, but Kenny has proved repeatedly he knows how to peak for the Olympic Games.

Jason Kenny became the fourth British Olympian – after Wiggins, Hoy and Sir Steve Redgrave – to win five Olympic gold medals (pic: Sirotti)

A team sprint gold medal in Beijing set the ball rolling, before team and individual sprint success in London.

Kenny successfully defended both titles in Rio, with some brilliant sprinting – becoming only the fourth British Olympian ever to bag five gold medals.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – five gold, one silver; World Championships – three gold, three silver, two bronze; European Championships – one gold, one silver, three bronze; Commonwealth Games (for England) – two silver

Jason Queally

While Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny have stolen the track sprinting limelight in recent Olympic Games’, Jason Queally was the man who got the British cycling gold rush started when he won gold in the kilo at Sydney 2000.

Queally also won silver in the team sprint at those Games and success had flowed ever since for Britain’s track stars.

Jason Queally started Great Britain’s track cycling resurgence at Sydney 2000 (Pic: Simon Wilkinson/SWPix.com)

Queally was a late convert to cycling, only starting racing aged 25 and nearly packing it in shortly afterwards when a crash caused an 18-inch slice of track to pierce his armpit and enter his chest.

Nevertheless, four years later, Queally was stood atop the podium in Sydney.

It was to prove his only Olympic gold medal, but he continued to pick up medals until as late as 2010 when, selected in the team pursuit, he won European gold in Poland.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – one gold, one silver; World Championships – one gold, three silver, four bronze; European Championships – one gold; Commonwealth Games (for England) – five silver

Chris Boardman

Another rider to win Olympic gold for Great Britain long before it became the norm was Chris Boardman.

Boardman won individual pursuit gold in Barcelona in 1992 – the first British track cyclist to win an Olympic gold medal since 1920.

Chris Boardman won individual pursuit gold at Barcelona 1992 (Pic: John Swindells, via Flickr Creative Commons)

And he did so in style, too – catching his world champion opponent Jens Lehmann, of Germany, in the final.

Alongside a smattering of other track cycling medals, Boardman also enjoyed success on the boards in the form of the hour record.

Boardman set the hour record twice before it was reclassified as ‘Best Human Effort’ and then set it again in 2000, under the new UCI rules, to end his career on a high.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – one gold; World Championships – two gold, one bronze; Commonwealth Games (for England) – two bronze

Beryl Burton

A pioneer of women’s cycling in Britain, Yorkshirewoman Beryl Burton dominated the British time trial scene and also enjoyed huge success on the world stage.

Beryl Burton was a pioneer for British women’s cycling (Pic: Brian Townsley, via Flickr Creative Commons)

In addition to two world titles on the road, Burton also medaled in the individual pursuit on the track almost every single year between 1959 and 1973 (only missing out in 1965, 1969 and 1972).

Burton is one of only four women to have won five gold medals in the individual pursuit, and would no doubt have added Olympic medals to her palmares were it not for the fact there were no women’s track cycling events at the Games during her career.

Track cycling medal haul: World Championships – five gold, three silver, four bronze; n.b – there were no women’s Olympic track cycling events during Burton’s career

Victoria Pendleton

No female British Olympian has ever won three gold medals in their career, but Victoria Pendleton is one of several with two to her name, plus a silver medal for good measure, too.

Victoria Pendleton signed off her track cycling career with one gold medal and one silver at London 2012 (Pic: Vaughn Ridley/SWPix.com)

Sprinter Pendleton amassed an incredible nine world titles (and 16 world championship medals in all) during her illustrious career.

And she signed off in style at the London 2012 Olympic Games by bagging one gold medal and one silver medal to add to her gold from Beijing.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – two gold, one silver; World Championships – nine gold, five silver, two bronze; European Championships – two gold, one silver; Commonwealth Games (for England) – one gold, one silver

Laura Trott

Laura Trott also entered the British Olympic history books at Rio 2016 by becoming the first British woman ever to win three gold medals – and has the chance to add a fourth this week when she defends her omnium title.

Trott shot to public attention at London 2012 when, aged 20, she helped the team pursuit trio win Olympic gold in record-breaking time before also winning the omnium.

Laura Trott could become the first British woman ever to win three Olympic gold medals (Pic: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com)

Still only 24, Trott’s all-round ability has already earned her 12 world titles, ten European gold medals, and a Commonwealth Games gold to go with those three Olympic golds – and she’s nowhere near done yet.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – three gold; World Championships – seven gold, four silver, one bronze; European Championships – ten gold; Commonwealth Games (for England) – one gold

Ed Clancy

Ed Clancy and Bradley Wiggins were both part of the team pursuit quartet which won gold in Beijing in 2008, and their repeat performance in Rio, having also formed half of this year’s squad, entered the Yorkshireman into cycling history.

Clancy has become an integral part of the team pursuit quartet in the last decade alongside being an accomplished all-round rider in his own right, winning omnium bronze in London.

Ed Clancy could also make history at Rio 2016 – no rider has won three back-to-back Olympic team pursuit gold medals (pic: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Success across the board at domestic events like the Revolution Series has been translated into plenty of gold medals on the world stage.

Alongside his three back-to-back team pursuit gold medals at the Olympics – an achievement unmatched by any other cyclist – Clancy has five World Championship gold medals and five at the European Championships, too.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – three gold, one bronze; World Championships – five gold, four silver, one bronze; European Championships – five gold, one bronze; Commonwealth Games (for England) – one silver

Hugh Porter

Hugh Porter may have exited his only Olympic Games early having suffered from illness but the Wolverhampton Wheeler still enjoyed plenty of success on the track.

In fact, his four World Championship gold medals in the individual pursuit is a record still unsurpassed today.

Hugh Porter’s four individual pursuit world titles have still never been surpassed (Pic: Dutch National Archives, via Wiki Commons)

Having won bronze in Liege in 1963, Porter had to wait another four years for his next worlds medal – silver in Amsterdam in 1967 (though he did win Commonwealth Games gold a year earlier) – but he then medaled in every World Championships between then and 1973.

His finest moment came in 1968, shortly after injury curtailed his only Tour de France, when he won his first world individual pursuit title after progressing as fastest qualifier and beating Ole Ritter in the final by eight seconds.

Track cycling medal haul: World Championships – four gold, two silver, two bronze; Commonwealth Games (for England) – one gold

Benjamin Jones

Track cycling made its Olympic debut at the London Olympic Games in 1908, and it was the host nation who dominated the event – winning five of the six gold medals awarded.

Success in the team pursuit was complemented by victories in the 660 yards, 5000m, 20km and 100km races.

Benjamin Jones was a double gold medal winner when track cycling made its Olympic debut in 1908 (Pic: Public Domain, via Wiki Commons)

Benjamin Jones was among the most successful Brits, winning gold in the team pursuit and the 5,000m and finishing second behind team pursuit team-mate Clarence Kingsbury in the 20km race.

Jones was also second in the sprint, but no medals were awarded in the race as the time limit was exceded and the race declared void.

Jones later went on to win a silver medal at the 1908 world amateur sprint championship in Leipzig.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games (1908) – two gold, one silver

Reg Harris

Reg Harris’ achievements on two wheels are memorialised at Manchester’s National Cyclung Centre with a monument to the 1948 Olympian.

Harris won two silvers medals in London at those Games, in the sprint and tandem sprint, but his biggest triumphs came at the World Championships in the following years.

Reg Harris won two silver medals in London in 1948 and four world titles (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Harris – already an amateur world champion in the sprint in 1947 – won three back-to-back world titles between 1949 and 1951 and added a fourth in 1954.

A household name in the 1950s, he later came out of retirement to win a British sprint title in 1974, aged 54 at the time.

Track cycling medal haul: Olympic Games – two silver; World Championships – four gold, one silver, one bronze

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