Bradley Wiggins is still fifth overall in the Tour de France after another strong ride in the Pyrenees on Saturday.

The Briton came into the Tour de France not knowing if he could stay with the overall contenders but he has now done it for two consecutive days. He even looked one of the strongest in the select front group that formed after Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) accelerated on the Col d’Agnes.

Wiggins finished 24th in Saint Girons, 1-54 behind stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne). He is still fifth, 46 seconds down on Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r).

He was rightly proud of another impressive performance.

“I’m on cloud nine and so I’m riding on morale. I’m getting more and more confident every day,” he told Cycling Weekly.

“It was a pretty standard day, a lot easier than I thought it would be to be honest. I felt best on the first climb. The hardest point of the day was when Andy Schleck attacked on the last climb. But I still had the legs to go with him and I knew he couldn’t sustain it and that once he stopped we could all recover. After that I still felt good and so it’s another day down.”

Many of the other overall contenders in the Tour de France have been surprised to see Wiggins rode so well on the major climbs but he looked one of the best in the select front group on the last climb.

“It’s better for my head when I’m right at the front,” he said.

“Christian keeps telling me that you’ve got to fight with these guys like it’s a sprint, whether they get p**sed or not. You’ve got to keep fighting and not worry about what anyone thinks.”

Wiggins admits that some riders are probably questioning his sudden ability to climb well in the Tour de France. But he does not care and bluntly makes it clear.

“I think a lot of people think I’m on drugs to be honest. I’m sure of it.  I know how the sport is,” he said.

“A lot of guys are going to be thinking. ‘What’s Wiggins been doing?” That’s unfortunate but I’m not Schumacher, I’m not Bernhard Kohl. I’ve worked hard for this….”

And now he’s getting the rewards for his hard work.

  • Budd

    …and yet, the irony is rich, no? Brad feels bad, and cannot disprove a negative. Nor should he have to. But it makes me sad that there seems to be no reflection on his part given his statements about other riders who have never been tested positive. As he is unable to disprove the negative, so too were they.

    In no way do I find it likely Wiggo is on something…but it might be appropriate for him to look up some of the mates and apologize to them in private. After all, when it boils down to it, all he has is his denials of doping and insistence he is clean…as did they when he found their denials weak and insufficient. He demanded proof. Made it sound easy to give, so let him measure up to his own standard…or…let him apologize for some bit of unreasonableness, and then live and let live.

    Good luck to him…other than his bouts with drunkenness I have nothing against him other than a potential double standard that he can easily mitigate should he take action.

  • Robin Hague

    Hang in there Brad. As Nigel has pointed out, it’s a sad reflection on the sport that Bradley suspects suspicion. However, in him and hopefully most of the leading riders on this Tour, we have strong examples of hard work creating success.

  • Nigel

    Great to see Brad riding so well in non-TT stages, as well as his excellent performance in the opening TT. My initial reaction was that it’s a sad reflection of the times that a strongly anti-doping rider like Brad should feel that, ironically, people probably think he’s “on something” but, after thinking about it, it’s probably a healthy situation for the current state of the sport. No, I don’t like the constant innuendo about doping in cycling either (a non-cycling colleague even asked me if I used “anything” and, when I pointed out my age, said “How about when you were younger?”) but if the atmosphere of suspicion combined with the blood passport programme discourages potential cheats maybe we’ll eventually reach a point where doping scandals are more of a problem for other sports than for cycling.

    Anyway Brad, you know you’re clean and a lot of people are willing to accept that hard work and focus alone CAN bring significant changes/improvement in performance – good luck for the rest of the race.