Sir Bradley Wiggins won his first time trial in the rainbow jersey of world champion today in the Belgian stage race, the Three Days of De Panne, and he did so after a overcoming a virus and a round of antibiotics.
Sky's captain fell sick after racing in Paris-Nice and doctors believed he had shingles. After taking antibiotics and skipping the E3 Harelbeke classic, he has returned on top.
Today in Belgium, he won the 14.2-kilometre time trial on the coast in De Panne. It was his first win since winning the worlds in Ponferrada, Spain, in September and will be his last major time trial in the rainbow stripes.
"I was a bit sick at the start of last week, I thought I had shingles," Wiggins said.
"So I didn't start E3 and I was coming off antibiotics. I didn't feel great on Sunday, but I feel like I've ridden into it in the last few days. After today, certainly, I'm back on track now."
Wiggins won the time trial by 10 seconds over Stefan Küng (BMC Racing), which was enough to move him to third overall.
Alexander Kristoff seals overall victory in 2015 Three Days of De Panne, with Bradley Wiggins moving up to third place
The three-day stage race included a split stage in the final day, a short 114.4-kilometre road stage won by victor of the first two stages, Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). In the afternoon, Wiggins flew his rainbow colours.
The time trial was only Wiggins's second since winning in Ponferrada. He raced the Tour of Qatar time trial in February and placed third to Dutchman Niki Terpstra and Swiss Fabian Cancellara.
"To be honest, it's nice to go out like this with this jersey on, winning a race and I'd hate to get lost in the next couple of years, punch drunk like some old boxer who can't leave it alone. I had my time," Wiggins added.
"We were talking about it, and I said to the guys, 'What were you doing 14 years ago this week?' A lot of them couldn't remember. I said, 'I can f***ing remember, I was in De Panne doing this s***hole of a race.'
“14 years is a long time to be riding around de Panne getting your head kicked in."
Wiggins raced the Three Days of De Panne as a first-year pro 13 years ago in 2002 with French team, Francaise des Jeux. He placed 12th in the time trial. He returned, with American team Garmin-Slipstream, and won the time trial in 2009.
"This is probably my last one on this level. It's been on my mind today and all week, I really wanted to win this one," Wiggins said.
"I always liked this time trial, especially when the weather picks up."
The sun came out and the wind died down slightly today on the coast, but still blew cold air around at about 15mph.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
EF Education-EasyPost and Israel-Premier Tech to race all-new Maryland Classic in September, one of just 4 UCI races in the US
A truly international field slated to attend America's newest UCI race
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Kristen Faulkner cools down after making a splash at the Giro Donne
The American headed straight for the sea to after winning the stage and taking the Giro Donne overall lead
By Owen Rogers • Published
British Cycling offers Bradley Wiggins 'full support' after allegations of sexual grooming
The governing body has contacted Wiggins after he alleged he was sexually groomed as a 13-year-old
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Bradley Wiggins alleges that he was sexually groomed by a coach as a 13-year-old
Former Tour de France winner says that it "impacted" him as an adult after he "buried" it
By Adam Becket • Published
Bradley Wiggins expresses regret for past behaviour: 'I was never good at handling public fame and adulation'
The 2012 Tour de France winner isn't proud of the public persona he had
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Sir Bradley Wiggins: I don’t like being defined as a cyclist
In an unconventional interview with The Times, the Tour de France winner says he would like a change of career
By Alex Ballinger • Published
Custom shoe designer gets an unexpected boost after Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins dons his kit
The Shoe Dr has done customised shoes for pros like Harry Tanfield but was still starstruck by the first British Tour winner
By Tim Bonville-Ginn • Published
Wiggins family winds up third company with debts of £141,000
Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins has seen a third company in his stable of businesses enter liquidation with debts of £141,000.
By Vern Pitt • Published
Bradley Wiggins liquidates businesses with debts of over £1m
Creditors expected to be left out of pocket as Team Wiggins company folds
By Vern Pitt • Published
Here are the top 10 hissy fits thrown by professional cyclists
When cyclists lose their temper, it can have comical outcomes
By Jack Elton-Walters • Published