Real Vuelta contenders

We had high hopes of a podium place for Bradley Wiggins at the Vuelta, but having two Brits in the top three is quite staggering.

It was the final rest day as we went to press on Monday, with Chris Froome sitting just 20 seconds off the lead, and Wiggo a further 26 seconds back after the Sky pair survived a brutal day on the slopes of the Angliru.

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With a couple more days of racing before we hit the shops on Thursday, circumstances could have changed again, but expectations are still high and Sky will certainly not let Cobo’s lead go unchallenged.

Froome says: “We’ll do everything in our power to keep battling and keep right up there in the standings,” and his words should not be taken lightly.

The Sky duo have made a formidable partnership and it seems unthinkable that before the Spanish race the team had no interest in re-signing him.

All that’s obviously changed and Sky must be kicking themselves as Froome weighs up his options. Whether he stays, or moves on, he won’t want to play second fiddle to anyone, especially to Wiggins, when he’s clearly the stronger rider.

None of this diminishes Wiggins’s performance. This has been Sky’s finest hour. Let’s hope it includes Froome in the future.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly