Bradley Wiggins (Sky) confirmed he is in great shape with a rock solid ride in the first big mountain test of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana.
The Londoner was feeling so good, in fact, he even put his team-mate Chris Froome to work at the top of the Sierra Nevada climb, before taking 18th on the stage in the main pack of favourites.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
His strong performance compared well with one of the most dangerous climbers, Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who had a bad day – according to Euskaltel-Euskadi because of poor form.
Wiggins has said in the past he had been training specifically to combat the heat, and riding at altitude, and today that paid off in spades.
“It was another good team performance and Chris Froome rode his heart out for me again at the end there,” Wiggins said later.
“He’s looking really good at the moment and things are going well again.”
Wiggins added that he was “pretty happy” with how he coped with the heat and with his strong finish.
“Obviously, though, it’s still early doors in terms of the race. We’re just going to continue to take things on the day by day.”
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Latest news
Cavendish battles on in summer scorcher in Vuelta
Vuelta heads for first major showdown on Tuesday
Matt Goss first rider to abandon Vuelta
Team Sky’s TTT horror on troublesome course
Dan Martin confident and collected as Vuelta team leader
Pro predictions: Who will win the Vuelta?
HTC-Highroad’s reservations about TTT course
Vuelta team time trial start order
Sky plans early start for Vuelta team time trial recon
Wiggins looking to minimise losses in testing Vuelta TTT
Riders voice support for Hushovd over Vuelta exclusion
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
Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Dan Martin to lead Garmin-Cervelo
Cavendish and Wiggins on provisional Vuelta start list
Climbers set to dominate in 2011 Vuelta
Millar on 2011 Vuelta: ‘Modern-looking and very challenging”
2011 Vuelta set to return to Angliru and Basque country
Angliru back in 2011 Tour of Spain
Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Martin to lead Garmin-Cervélo
Vuelta a Espana 2011
: Stage reports
Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide