Bradley Wiggins (Sky) will have to fight back after a 1-24-minute loss to his Giro d’Italia rivals today in Pescara. The Tour de France champion lost pace to his rivals, crashed on the wet Abruzzese road and returned to the bus with ripped shorts and road rash.
Under hard rain, team boss, David Brailsford recognised the race is wide open and Wiggins’ task ahead.
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“It’s opened up to the rivals. In order to win stage races you have to take the rough and the smooth,” Brailsford told the media including Cycling Weekly. “It’s all about how much balls he has now, let’s face it. We’ve got to take it on. Let’s race.”
Astana turned the screw
Before heading towards tomorrow’s time trial, Wiggins must reflect on today’s stage. Team Astana turned the screws on Wiggins for Vincenzo Nibali. Tanel Kangert attacked 10 kilometres out after the sky had already opened up. Nibali followed with a move of his own on the descent.
He crashed twice, but his move opened the race up.
Other race favourites gapped to Nibali, including Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp). Wiggins went in the other direction.
Colombians Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Urán waited for Wiggins, but could do little to stop him sliding on a right turn five kilometres out. He got back on his bike, but he was not the same. Wiggins looked rattled and risked losing too much time.
“Rattled? Yes, it’s fair to say that, it was very slippery and once you fall it takes a bit of time to regain your composure,” added Brailsford.
“It was a setback, but not disastrous. It could’ve been a lot worse, but there’s a lot more racing yet to come. You got to take your good days and bad days and add it all up at the end.”
Brailsford recognised Astana’s trap and its effectiveness.
“Ultimately you could say that it worked, [Nibali] gained time, although who knows how hard he hit the deck,” continued Brailsford. “As soon as Kangert attacked, everyone knew what was coming! They deserve credit for taking it on, we just have to knuckle down now and hunt him down.”
‘It’ll be difficult’
Along with Nibali, favourites Hesjedal, Evans, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Robert Gesink (Blanco) gained 1-24 minutes.
Wiggins races a 54.8-kilometre time trial tomorrow and has a chance to claw back some of that loss.
“It’ll be difficult, one and a half minutes, but it’s more than just tomorrow, there’s a whole race left,” Brailsford said. “There’s some brilliant riders in there and you have to give them credit. It’ll be difficult to claw that time back.”
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Photos by Graham Watson