Wiggins posted a 14-12 for the 10.9 kilometres in Lusail this afternoon, which placed him third, nine seconds behind stage winner and new overall leader Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step). Fabian Cancellara placed runner-up, a second ahead of Wiggins.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
The Team Sky rider is out of the overall picture here, and said he has made steps towards his Paris-Roubaix assault in April here.
“Unfortunately, the world of cycling puts a massive emphasis on this race,” he said. “But everybody’s at different stages of preparation.
“We’ve not done any racing, so you don’t know where they’re at. It was only a month ago we were all drinking and getting fat at Christmas and then you come here looking to do a world-class performance.
“[Tom] Boonen and that are always good here, Fabian [Cancellara] has been up and down the last few years.
“This time last year I was scraping around the back of Ruta del Sol, I always come back to think where I was, and where I am. April is a long way away; I’m pleased to be fairly close today.”
World time trial champion Bradley Wiggins beaten by Niki Terpstra and Fabian Cancellara
Wiggins is scheduled to compete in next month’s Paris-Nice [March 8-15], and also the Three Days of De Panne [March 31-April 2], which should give him three more attempts to win a time trial as the discipline’s reigning world champion before he leaves Sky on April 30.
“It’s a dream, but there’s still a process with time trialling, whether you’re time trial champion or not. It doesn’t always work out,” added the 34-year-old.
“There are a few more opportunities yet before you start writing about the curse of the rainbow jersey.”
Surrounded by the best crowd of this year’s race, many of whom were British ex-pats, Wiggins also compared his dream of winning Roubaix as the same of his desire to be able to emulate one of Michael Jackson’s trademark moves.
Wiggins said: “I’d love to win Roubaix, but it’s so unpredictable. I’d love to moonwalk as well, but sometimes you have to accept you can’t do certain things in life.
“It won’t be for the lack of trying – same as if I took lessons to try to learn to moonwalk, although I’ll never do to the extent of Michael.”