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Bradley Wiggins (Sky) considers the Giro d'Italia's time trial on Saturday a 'huge' opportunity to win the race overall. The 54.8-kilometre test closes the first week and balances well with the Alpine climbs to come - perfect for the Tour de France champion.
"It's huge for the overall," Wiggins told Cycling Weekly. "I know a lot of guys have seen it and I know a lot of guys are scared of it, but it's good for me."
The time trial winds down the coast in Le Marche and near midway, heads inland to Saltara. Once the riders reach the halfway point in Pesaro, the roads straighten and offer more chance for the Wiggins-types. Near the finish, however, the road ramps up to 13 per cent and features some pavé.
"There are a lot of ups and downs, short climbs and short descents," local Simone Stortoni (Lampre-Merida) said. "It's atypical crono. However, the way I've seen Wiggins going he'll do all right. He can handle these climbs of 5-7 per cent."
After missing a chance to win the Giro del Trentino overall, Wiggins travelled to the southern region to preview the time trial. He rode it and the team filmed it.
"It's a long old way, that took two hours to ride it," Wiggins continued. "It's technical. It's similar to the team TT course [on Ischia], uphill drags, a couple of steep sections, but obviously longer. It's like that for the first 35K, then you get a nice 15K stretch of straight and then it finishes uphill.
"It's one of those ones you have to be good from start to finish. If you die off at the end, you're going to lose three minutes on the final climb sort of thing."
Wiggins paved the way to his Tour title thanks to his two time trial wins. He admitted the Giro test is key to his overall chances, but refused to say how time he wants to gain before heading into the mountains.
"I don't like to put a number on it where I'd be disappointed or surprised either way. Whatever it is, it is," added Wiggins. "On history and current form, you'd expect it to be a good chunk of time on certain people, maybe less on others that have really worked on it."
Wiggins not only wants to gain time, but he aims to win the stage itself.
He faces many rivals for the overall, but only a few threaten in the time trial, such as Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp). Time trial specialist, Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) told Cycling Weekly yesterday he is not up to the challenge.
"The priority is to win the stage and see where that puts you on the GC," Wiggins said.
"On form and history and stuff... I am the Olympic champion, so you know. I just have to go out there and put that ride together over 55km."
Bradley Wiggins will be riding Pinarello's new Bolide time trial bike. We took a close look at Wiggins' Bolide as it was being built for the team time trial>>
Giro d'Italia 2013: Previews and race info
Stage 8 ITT preview
Giro d'Italia 2013: British TV schedule
Giro 2013: 10 things you need to know
Giro d'Italia 2013: The Big Preview
Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage reports
Stage five: Degenkolb avoids crash to take win
Stage four: Battaglin sprints to first Giro stage win
Stage three: Paolini takes charge
Stage two: Sky wins team time trial
Stage one: Cavendish wins opener
Giro d'Italia 2013: Photo galleries
Photos by Graham Watson
Stage five gallery
Stage four gallery
Stage three gallery
Stage two gallery
Stage one gallery
Team presentation gallery
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