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.?

Giro d'Italia 2009Bradley Wiggins and Lance Armstrong on stage two

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.?

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.?

Giro d’Italia 2009 links

Stage reports
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

Photo galleries
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Desktop wallpaper photos

Armstrong after Giro stage 5: ‘That was hard’
Cavendish looking for Giro revenge
Armstrong happy with stage four performance
Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead
Giro could be last race for Armstrong’s team
Vande Velde crashes out of Giro
Petacchi claims he didn’t know of Cavendish crash
Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey
Petacchi: I’ve been working out how to beat Cav
I’m wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial
Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up
Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial
Team time trial start times
Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia top ten prediction
Brits in Venice for Giro presentation
Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey

2009 Giro d’Italia guide and features
Find the pink jersey competition
Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview
British riders to have led the grand tours
CW’s Giro top ten prediction
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia

2008 Giro d’Italia archive
Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

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