Bradley Wiggins declared himself satisfied after a “perfect day” at the Tour of Britain saw him retain the IG gold leader’s jersey in Caerphilly this afternoon.
Wiggins had previously described the the 177-kilometre leg, which passed over the Brecon Beacons and included two gruelling ascents of Caerphilly Mountain in the closing stages, as the biggest threat to his race lead.
Despite numerous attacks from the peloton, Sky rode on the front all day and controlled proceedings to ensure Wiggins kept his 37-second lead ahead of his team-mate Ian Stannard on GC.
“It was certainly the toughest finish [of the Tour],” said Wiggins, who admitted he rode the stage last week in preparation for the race.
“We knew Dan Martin and [Nairo] Quintana were going to attack and they did. I just used the team as long as possible and the team again today took the strain. I didn’t have to hit the front once really so it was a perfect day and I think obviously tomorrow is another tough one. I wouldn’t underestimate it but we certainly held it together today.”
Although Wiggins looks comfortable in the lead ahead of Sunday’s finish in London, he didn’t rule out the threat posed by his GC rivals in the next few stages, particularly on tomorrow’s stage in Devon which finishes atop Haytor.
“You can’t underestimate any day and I think it’s been a tough race up to now, probably the toughest edition of the race that I’ve certainly done,” he said.
“It was only five years ago we used to spend every night in the bar until two o’clock in the morning; now you couldn’t get away with it. It’s up there with a lot of the other races we’ve done and tomorrow again is another tough one.
“We lost Alex Dowsett today from the GC so he’s another one gone but there’s still those guys Quintana and Dan Martin, you can never underestimate them when they take off on a climb.
“I think if we get through tomorrow it might be safe to say we’re pretty much there but anything can happen at any time, as long as I’ve got the team around me.
“If you become isolated and start getting attacked that’s when the problems start because you can’t chase everything. As good as you are individually, I wouldn’t have won this race without those guys that have been doing the job they’ve been doing this week hopefully it can continue.”