Sky’s Bradley Wiggins followed his instinct and rode away from his rivals on Monte Grappa today at the Giro d’Italia. His move was short lived, but allowed him to anticipate the attacks that would come later by the likes of eventual stage winner, Vincenzo Nibali.
“I did not attack. I saw [Stefano] Garzelli and [Damiano] Cunego pinned a bit because Liquigas was going quite hard. When they started to take a rest I wanted to keep the tempo going and hoped we would lose them,” Wiggins told Cycling Weekly.
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“I went, but I was in no man’s land for a bit. I wasn’t to confident because I knew there was still a long way to the summit. I rode a small tempo until they caught me.”
Wiggins move lasted for three kilometres on the 18.9-kilometre Monte Grappa climb. He anticipated the steepest part of the climb and helped eliminate some of his direct classification rivals to jump from 10th to seventh overall with only one week to race.
Steve Cummings helped Wiggins as long as he could after he dropped back from an early escape group. Once Wiggins was on his own again, he decided it was best to sit up, a decision sports director Sean Yates agreed with.
“It was not something that I planned for him to do,” said Yates. “Later, it got really steep, much harder than the climbs you find in the Tour de France.
“I told Steve not to put Bradley into the red. That climb did not suit Bradley’s build or the way he climbs.”
“I think I got carried away, I saw Garzelli and them in trouble and I knew it would be a good point to take some time back,” added Wiggins. “As it worked out, even if I hadn’t accelerated, I would have never gone with Nibali and Basso in the steepest part. I think I finished where I needed to finish, with Tondo, Arroyo and Sastre.”
Wiggins moved ahead to 6’32” behind new leader Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) and surpassed Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Doimo), Alexander Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale) and Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank).
Monte Zoncolan will be tougher tomorrow, with pitches up to 22 per cent. After it, though, Wiggins and the Giro d’Italia will enjoy a rest day before the final six stages.
“I’ve raced it in 2003, but that was quite a long time ago and I think we went up a different side. I am not a great fan of them, they are not my cup of tea, but I will get on with it and try to do the best as possible.”