Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) slumped to the ground after finishing seventh in the Cinque Terre Giro d’Italia time trial, asking for water after 90 minutes of total effort.
He had hoped for a place in the top five and perhaps even better. But finishing just five seconds behind Danilo Di Luca (LPR), who was racing to keep the pink jersey, shows how impressive Wiggins? performance really was.
Further proof comes from other results: Wiggins beat Ivan Basso (Liquigas) by 18 seconds, Lance Armstrong (Astana) by 27 seconds and Michael Rogers (Columbia) by 47.
Incredibly, Wiggins had not seen the course and dived into many of the blind corners without knowing what was on the other side. That probably cost him valuable seconds and left him with mixed feeling about his ride.
?My initial feeling was disappointment but I don?t really know why. I don?t know what I expected to do,? he told Cycling Weekly.
?I didn?t really expect to be in this position a few days ago and perhaps later, in hindsight, I won?t be too disappointed with my ride. I?m pretty happy with my effort and I should be happy with a top ten.?
Wiggins put out a balanced performance. He was eighth at the first intermediate time check at the summit of the Passo del Bracco after 18.6km and was sixth after the first descent at 34.5km. Like everybody, he lost time to Menchov on the second climb and was eighth at the third time check at the summit of the Passo del Termine after 44.5km.
At the finish in Riomaggiore after 60.6km and over 90 minutes of all out effort, he finished 1-59 behind Menchov.
?I might have gone a bit too hard at the start but it?s difficult to judge it because it?s such a long effort,? Wiggins told Cycling Weekly.
?I rode both the climbs really well and thought I got it pretty spot in but I felt I lost so much time on the descents. We didn?t do any thing for this reconnaissance wise and I was over cooking corners and under cooking them.?
?The last 10km dragged a bit because it didn?t really go down.?
Wiggins tried to recover from his huge effort in the shade of a van a hundred yards after the finish. He wiped his face with a towel, perhaps trying to wipe away the pain and disappointment, but quickly began to think about the final 14.4km time trial stage around Rome on Sunday May 31.
?I?m looking forward to the last time trial now. That?s more of my thing,? he said with determination.
The truth is that after working hard on his climbing ability, even the longest, hilliest, craziest time trial seen for years, is within Wiggins? reach.
|Giro d’Italia 2009 links|
Stage 12: Menchov storms to Giro TT win and race lead
Stage 11: Cavendish romps to second Giro stage win
Stage 10: Di Luca lays down the gauntlet
Giro rest day review (May 18)
Stage nine: Cavendish blitzes rivals to win in Milan
Stage eight: Siutsou makes it two in a row for Columbia-Highroad
Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage
Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break
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
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Desktop wallpaper photos
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Cavendish: ‘Today brought back memories of San Remo’ (stage 11)
Is Di Luca trying too hard, too soon?
Wiggins loses time in the Giro (stage 10)
Armstrong and Basso say sorry for Giro protest
How are the Giro favourites doing?
Cavendish says ‘I’m addicted to winning’
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Wiggins: ‘I can’t keep smashing away on the climbs’
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Petacchi claims he didn’t know of Cavendish crash
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I’m wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
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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
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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