Bradley Wiggins secured his first stage race podium placing for Sky in the Tour of Murcia on Sunday, finishing third behind Frantisek Rabon (HTC-Columbia) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank).
Wiggins finished safely in the main pack, in 38th place, on the final 121 kilometre stage from Redyser to Murcia, decided in a bunch sprint won by Theo Bos (Cervélo).
Russell Downing (Sky) showed continuing strong form with sixth place in the final dash for the line, whilst Ian Wilkinson (Endura) took tenth, his third top-ten place of the week.
For Wiggins third in Murcia comes after consistent riding in the race’s most mountainous stage, where the Londoner finished ninth, and third in Saturday’s decisive time trial. His next race, which completes the first big block of the season, will be the Tour of Catalunya at the end of March.
Like Wiggins, Britain’s Team Endura had the satisfaction of finishing on the final podium, with victory for Frenchman Alexandre Blain in the intermediate sprints competition.
Blain sealed his victory after he went on a day-long break on stage five alongside Irishman Phillip Deignan (Cervelo) and Oleg Chuzda (Caja Rural), first in a break of nine in a frantic first hour’s racing, and then again as a group of three.
The trio managed to stay away over the one big climb of the day, the Alto Cabeza de la Plata, and built up a lead of three minutes. But they were reeled in with less than five kilometres to go, and after winning the Clasica Almeria the previous Sunday, Bos was able to take his second bunch sprint win in Spain in a week.
Tour of Murcia 2010, stage five
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Cervelo in 2-43-35
2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp
4. Valentin Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana
5. Henning Bommel (Ger) German National Team
6. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky
7. Roger Kluge (Ger) Milram
8. Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp
9. Manuel Anton (Spa) Spanish National Team
10. Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura all same time.
23. James Moss (GB) Endura
38. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky
39. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky
43. Ross Creber (GB) Endura
47. Evan Oliphant (GB) Endura
50. Rob Partridge (GB) Endura all same time
Final overall classification
1. Frantisek Rabon (Cze) HTC-Columbia in 16-01-24
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 38secs
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 53secs
4. Andreas Kloden (Ger) RadioShack at 57secs
5. Josep Jufre (Spa) Astana at 1-21
6. Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank at 1-23
7. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at 1-23
8. Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank at 1-41
9. Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram at 1-42
10. Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 1-59
40. Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura at 11-16
52. Evan Oliphant (GB) Endura at 17-11
53. Rob Partridge (GB) Endura at 17-16
55. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky at 21-53
69. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky at 33-47
76. James Moss (GB) Endura at 37-16
94. Ross Creber (GB) Endura at 55-21