Bradley Wiggins lost more time in the Giro d'Italia on a rain-soaked stage on Thursday to Treviso. As the rain fell on the riders, it washed away all hope of Wiggins winning the Giro as the British rider's illness worsens.
"Brad, he's sick," said Sky team principal David Brailsford immediately after the stage finish.
"It's pretty obviously today, he was battling for a couple of days. He developed a severe cold and chest infection. He battled that yesterday, we thought how it work today but it got worse overnight. We knew it was always going to be an uphill battle today, but... It's not like Bradley Wiggins to lose a wheel on the flat."
Wiggins lost three minutes and 17 seconds to rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) after losing contact with the lead group during the stage. He slipped from fourth overall to 13th - now five minutes and 32 seconds adrift of race leader Nibali.
When asked whether Wiggins was fit enough to carry on in the race, Brailsford said: "He's fit enough, it's not about fitness it's about sickness. If you're sick, you're sick."
Brailsford confirmed that Sky will now rally behind Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who stayed with the lead group containing Nibali and Cadel Evans (BMC) to keep hold of his third place overall.
"The team will get right behind Rigoberto and keep on racing all the way to Brescia. He looks in good shape to be honest. It'll be great to try to compete for the podium or even better."
Brailsford was less clear at this stage whether Wiggins would refocus his season on the Tour de France. "You've got to be realistic," he said. "He's been on the bus for five minutes."
"He lost a lot of time, he needs to shower have food and see how he is over night. He'll carry on if he's over it, but if it's worse, the doctors will have to make a decision as to what's best health-wise.
"It's a long time I've seen Brad Wiggins dropped on the flats. He was pretty brave and showed a lot of courage to get on his bike, when he opened the curtains this morning, when he was feeling sick, the last thing he wanted to see was the pouring rain. I think he showed a lot of courage to try to battle through the stage."
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