Bradley Wiggins (Sky) admitted it has been a “challenging few days” at the Giro d’Italia and a puncture in today’s time trial “ruffled” him.
Team released a statement from Wiggins, who was unavailable to the press waiting at the end of the 54.8-kilometre time trial.
“I think there was some initial disappointment because I wanted to win the stage,” Wiggins said. “It’s been a challenging few days.”
Wiggins crashed yesterday and suffered a puncture early into his ride today. He lost time as a result and perhaps a chance to win the stage.
British champion, Alex Dowsett (Movistar) won the stage in his debut Grand Tour. Wiggins placed second at 10 seconds.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) placed only 11 seconds back on Wiggins and moved into the race lead. Other rivals were further behind Sir Wiggo: Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) 29 seconds, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) 43 seconds, Robert Gesink (Blanco) 1-12 minutes and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) 2-13 minutes.
Wiggins sits third overall and trails Nibali at 1-16 minutes.
“It wasn’t an easy course,” added Wiggins. “I’ve said all along that it wasn’t one of those ones where you could take three or four minutes out of people because it was so technical at the start.”
He suffered a front tyre puncture only 17 minutes in and had to stop to change bikes.
“I was a bit ruffled after the bike change and didn’t get the best out of myself on that technical part of the course,” said Wiggins. “It was a bit damp still as well so I was a bit cautious – especially after crashing yesterday. But from Pesaro onwards I really got into my stride and I think physically I was as good as I’ve ever been.”
The race heads towards Florence tomorrow and then enjoys its first rest day on Monday. However, the road ramps upwards over the last two weeks, starting with Tuesday’s stage to Altopiano del Montasio.
Wiggins says the time gaps are small and he is not in a bad position.
“The last week’s going to be very difficult and the time gaps are relatively small still,” Wiggins continued. “A minute and 16 to Nibali still with all the problems yesterday isn’t that bad. It’s not easy to defend a Grand Tour lead so it’s not a bad position to be in.”
Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info
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Photos by Graham Watson