Bradley Wiggins’ hopes of winning the Giro d’Italia overall is taking hits in the country’s south. Contrary to the team’s initial thoughts, the race jury decided to not to return the 17 seconds Wiggins lost ahead of the stage four finish.
“We had transponders, at the three kilometre mark he was already behind by 17 seconds,” race jury president, Hervé Brocque said in a packed press conference. “We were able to see the three that were with the group, had lost time due to the crash and we gave them the time back.”
Juan Manuel Gárate (Blanco), Cristiano Salerno (Cannondale) and Laurent Pichon (FDJ) crashed in the final three kilometres. Because the jury did not classify the 246-kilometre run to Serra San Bruno as a summit finish, the three-kilometre rule took hold. The rule gives back time lost to riders caught in or behind crashes in the final critical moments.
Brocque added, “Wiggins was already behind at three kilometres.”
Brailsford believed it was in the last three kilometres and Wiggins’ time loss would be corrected.
“Either they’ll count it or they won’t, but at the end of the day… It’s like anything, you prefer not to [lose it], but I don’t think it’s race-changing,” Brailsford told three journalists at the team bus, including Cycling Weekly.
“It puts us back on par with everyone else. You’ll see the big gaps in the time trial [on Saturday] and in the big mountain stages, that’s where the race will be won or lost.”
Wiggins preferred not to comment about the stage. He arrived at the bus, put his bike against it and climbed in.
“He’s showering,” added Brailsford. “I still haven’t spoken to him.”
Dario Cataldo, one of Wiggins’ key mountain helpers, closed the stage much further back, dead-last at 28-20 minutes. He spent the day trying to recover from a sickness.
“I don’t think it was food poisoning, but he was ill during the night. He couldn’t keep anything down,” Brailsford explained. “It’s always testing to do stages like that back to back. He’s done well, he’ll come through. We will really need him towards the back end of the race, so by that time he should be okay with the rest days.”
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Photos by Graham Watson
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