Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was in an upbeat mood after what was arguably one of his strongest ever mountain performances, in which Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) was the only top leader able to beat him at the end of stage nine of the Vuelta a Espana.
Wiggins and Froome, though, dragged the group back up to Martin when the Irishman went on the attack with Nibali mid-way through the climb and in the process the two Sky riders shredded the peloton, with riders of the calibre of Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) losing time.
"I'm delighted with how things have gone," Wiggins said afterwards. "Once I'd seen the others were in difficulties I went into time trial mode and I just tried to take as much time off of them as possible."
"Everything I earned today was a bonus, I thought I'd just be limiting my losses. It was a fantastic finish."
"The team were brilliant again, Froomey [Chris Froome] was shining, he's really come to the fore now and proved his worth."
"It was phenomenal to see and the rest of the boys have not put a foot wrong all week. I haven't had to lift a finger, even though I've been nervous at times, they've put me in the right position when it's mattered and coached me through it."
"We're all looking forward to tomorrow [in the Salamanca time trial] cos it what's we do best, we'll go out there and give it everything."
"What's happened today must have been demoralising for the other contenders, specially the weaker time triallists who'll have to go out there for an hour tomorrow."
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Related links
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Latest news
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Cancellara late to Vuelta after being hospitalised by bee sting
Nibali back for victory again in 2011 Vuelta
Wiggins: "I'm in a great position going into the Vuelta"
Wiggins confirmed as Sky leader for the Vuelta
Freire: It'll be tough in the Vuelta with Cavendish
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Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Martin to lead Garmin-Cervélo
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Who's riding?
Vuelta a Espana 2011 team list
Vuelta a Espana 2011
: Stage reports
Stage nine: Martin wins as Wiggins moves further up GC
Stage eight: Rodriguez wins again to take overall lead
Stage seven: Kittel wins chaotic bunch sprint
Stage six: Sagan takes Vuelta stage win in controversial circumstances
Stage five: Rodriguez takes second win for Katusha but Chavanel holds on
Stage four: Moreno wins first mountain skirmish at Sierra Nevada
Stage three: Lastras solos to stage and takes red jersey
Stage two: Sutton grabs stage win to set things right for Sky
Stage one: Leopard-Trek win opening TTT to put Fuglsang in front
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Photo galleries
By Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide
Vuelta a Espana 2011: ITV4 TV schedule
Vuelta a Espana 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule
ITV to show 2011 Vuelta
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