There were some incredible performances during Wednesday’s short but extremely tough Giro d’Italia stage five to Alpe di Siusi, but Bradley Wiggins? ride was one of the ones that stood out.
Wiggins dug deep all the way up the 24.9km climb. Prior to the stage, he had told Cycling Weekly that he was climbing well, but his performance proved he really does have the potential to be a contender in shorter stage races.
The British Garmin-Slipstream rider must have got a kick out of seeing Lance Armstrong go past and out of the back with six kilometres to go. Then former Giro d?Italia winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre) blew as well, while Wiggins was still riding well despite his huge build.
Wiggins was dropped in the final kilometres but finished, with fellow Brit Charly Wegelius (Silence-Lotto), 1-47 behind Menchov and so 1-11 ahead of Lance Armstrong. Fellow Brit Chris Froome (Barloworld) was just behind at 2-17.
?Not working on both the track and the road this year has allowed me to really focus on doing other things on the road and push things forward. The last couple of days are showing the results of all the work,? Wiggins told Cycling Weekly after enjoying a massage and dinner following the stage.
?I?ve been working on my climbing a lot this year but at the same time it hasn?t blunted my time trialing because I?ve been doing it in the right way and with the right people. I?m five kilogrammes lighter than I was in last year?s Giro and that makes a massive difference. It makes a difference just training for road races. I?ve been giving this as much attention and hard work as I used to give a world title on the track.?
?The idea is that I can be there to help Christian Vande Velde on the climbs in the Tour de France and do things for myself in other short stage races. He would have been up there with me if he hadn?t crashed out the other day and so things should be good for the Tour.?
?I?ve been doing a bit of everything this year, to test my limits. I had a go in Paris-Nice, then got stuck in on the cobbles in Paris-Roubaix and now I?m targeting the Giro. I?m not going to say I want to try and win a major Tour or anything but there?s no reason why I can?t go for the Tour of Romandie or something like it. We?ll see, I?ll probably have a bad day and lose time but it?s about pushing it day after day and seeing what happens.?
Bradley Wiggins and Lance Armstrong on stage two
WIGGO DROPS LANCE
Wiggins looked good for most of the climb and watched Armstrong, then Cunego, then Bruseghin (third in the 2008 Giro) and many others fall out of the back of the front group on the final, hardest section of the climb.
?Lance isn?t at his best but it?s still good for my own personal development and confidence,? Wiggins said.
?I popped off the back with four kilometres to go when Basso started upping the pace. I think there was only about 18 of us left then and it all splintered. I?m starting to get a bit of confidence now after two days. My position wasn?t great and so I felt the full brunt of the accelerations. I rode in with Charly Wegelius. I think he was a bit surprised to see me up there but helped pace me to the line and we gave each other a pat on the back.?
NEXT TARGET: THE CINQUE TERRE HILLY TT
Although he has no chance of taking the pink jersey in the next few days, Wiggins wants to push himself to see what he can do during the rest of the Giro. He will defend his overall position for the next few days and has his eye on the Cinque Terre time trial on stage 12 next Thursday.
?We?ll see what happens in the next few days. But I?d love to do a ride in the time trial. I haven?t seen the course but I think the climbs suit me and I?m not bad on the descents. Who knows? People like Bruseghin aren?t going that well this year and so there aren?t that many contenders for such a long time trial. I?m going to give it a go and see if I can surprise a few people. After that it?d be nice to perhaps hold on to a top 20 spot. I?ve also got the final time trial on Rome.?
?The sports changed so much in the last few years. I?m more realistic about what I can do. In 2005 I remember slogging it to try and stay in the gruppetto. Now I was already riding back down the finish when the gruppetto came up.?
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Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey
Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin
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