Bradley Wiggins (Sky) may lower his Giro d’Italia aims after losing more time today on the race’s first summit finish to Altopiano del Montasio.
“There’s still a lot to play for,” he told a handful of journalists including Cycling Weekly. “If the win’s perhaps a little bit beyond me now then I’m still fighting 100 per cent to finish on the podium, so that still remains the goal.”
Wiggins rode the four kilometres down from the summit to Sky’s bus, nicknamed the Death Star. He arrived in a black rain cape and with a black towel wrapped tight around his neck. After about 15 minutes on the bus, team principal, David Brailsford brought him out for the press.
He explained that he is happy even with the 49-second loss to race leader, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). He got through what he said was the toughest finish and his Colombian team-mate, super domestique Rigoberto Urán won.
“I have a bit of a cold at the moment, it’s just enough to take the edge off you on a stage like that,” Wiggins said. “You have to be 100 per cent against Nibali and those guys.”
Nibali leads Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) in the overall by 41 seconds. Urán sits in third place at 2-04 minutes with Wiggins right behind at 2-05.
Wiggins slipped out of contention in the final four kilometres when the road in Italy’s northeast Friuli region ramped up to 20 per cent. He continued to time trial his way to the line while Nibali and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) rode clear.
In addition to the time gain, Nibali picked up 12 bonus seconds to gain 49 seconds.
Sky stays down the road this evening where one Sir (Brailsford) will talked to another (Wiggins) about the race lead. Urán now leads by one second, leading some to think he could be the new team leader.
“Ummm… Yeah, it depends how it plays out really,” Wiggins said. “I’ll have to speak to Rigoberto tonight. He went all out for the stage. It’s just whether he feels now he can go for that GC. You know, there’s a time trial [mountain TT in Polsa, stage 18 – ed.]. He’s quite inconsistent like that, he can have a really good day, win a stage like today and then lose a few seconds tomorrow, so we’ll have to see how he feels.”
Asked if the Giro d’Italia title fight is over, Wiggins added, “It’s never over. No, no.”
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Photos by Graham Watson