Bradley Wiggins believes his chances of defending the Friends Life Tour of Britain title are now over.
Wiggins sits 27 seconds behind race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who won this afternoon’s stage in Bristol.
The Pole has put 11 seconds into the Team Sky rider across the line in the last two days, but his overall lead had benefited significantly by the 16 seconds he has picked up in bonuses in that time.
And while Wiggins should be able to put some time into Kwiatkowski in Sunday morning’s 8.8-kilometre time trial in London, gaining three seconds per kilometre may prove too much.
“I’m still up there but on paper first place has gone now,” he said. “I can’t see myself getting 27 seconds on Kwiatkowski, but the podium is only 12 seconds away.
“He only has to have a puncture in the time trial. I wouldn’t say the GC is over because finishing up there as the defending champion is important.”
Wiggins put his time loss upon the Clifton Downs down to a battle for position approaching a tight hairpin bend at the foot of the finishing climb, three kilometres from the line.
He said: “I was there then I got a bit swamped, I was still in 30th or 40th place coming into the corner.
“Coming up into the park, there was a TV motorbike, and there was a crash, I caught behind that, but I think I got the same group as Swifty. I haven’t got the acceleration to go with Kwiatkowski.
“It’s the way I am at the moment, I’m still lacking in that acceleration you get from racing.”
However Wiggins will need to pick up time bonuses if he is to have any chance of defending his title, according to Sky DS Nicolas Portal.
“Brad is a good time triallist, but so is Kwiatkowski,” said Portal. “We will try to get some bonus seconds back, there is going to be a big fight for stage wins.
“But Kwiatkowski will be there, you can see he’s strong and punchy.”