Bradley Wiggins: “I’ve said all along the Giro is going to be like that”
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Bradley Wiggins: “I’ve said all along the Giro is going to be like that”

by Ben Atkins at 3:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Tour de France champion reflects on the first part of his Giro d’Italia campaign

bradley wigginsAfter nine stages of the 2013 Giro d’Italia Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) sits in fourth place overall, a minute and 16 seconds behind Maglia Rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). The Tour de France champion will have hoped to have been ahead of the Italian rider at this point, after the team and individual time trials, but a series of setbacks have seen the British rider lose all the time that he had gained against the clock.

“I just seemed to have one problem after another really,” Wiggins admitted. “I’ve said all along the Giro is going to be like that, and every time I’ve ridden the Giro it’s been challenging like that, let alone going for the GC. You’ve just got deal with it as things come along.”

Team Sky took victory in the stage two team time trial and, although he only put 14 seconds into Nibali, he also put 25 into defending champion Ryder Hesjedal’s Garmin-Sharp team, and 37 into Cadel Evans’ BMC Racing. Much of this was lost in the next two days, however, as Hesjedal and Evans sprinted for the time bonuses for second and third in Marina di Ascea on stage three, while on stage four the British rider lost contact with the front group of the peloton on the wet descent into Serra San Bruno.

The big disaster came on stage seven, however, when a crash on the wet descent to the Pescara finish saw the Briton lose his descending confidence and he conceded 1’24” to his rivals. He managed to take much of this back on the following day’s time trial, but the stage against the clock ought to have been a chance for Wiggins to put time into his rivals, not to claw it back.

“Physically everything is great,” Wiggins confirmed. “It’s better than it’s ever been. Hopefully now on the longer summit finishes I can put that into action - where it’s just down to the physical stuff rather than these tricky finishes like where we had the crash a couple of days ago."

As the race heads into mountains - the preferred terrain of his rivals - Wiggins will have to try to take time back from Nibali, Evans and Robert Gesink (Blanco), as well as defending himself against others like Hesjedal and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida).

“It is what it is now,” he admitted. “We’re fourth and just over a minute off the lead with two weeks left of racing - perhaps the hardest two weeks. Taking the first week in comparison to what’s left in the Giro, you’ll look back in Brescia and go ‘well actually it was nothing’. I don’t think the gap will be 1’16” in Brescia. Whoever is in pink at the time the gaps will be quite considerable.”

bradley wigginsWiggins’ Tour victory was based on his time trialling superiority, backed up by Team Sky’s strength defending the lead against the climbers in the mountains. To win the Giro Wiggins will have to change his tactics but, with teammates Sergio Henao in sixth place and Rigoberto Urán in ninth, Team Sky is well placed to play three different cards.

“It’s still not a bad position to be in,” Wiggins explained. “One second off the podium, Vincenzo in the lead and three of us in the top 10. [Attacking] is not what we’re used to. Last year we defended a lot and had people attacking and trying to get rid of us. It’s a different position we’re in now and we’ll try to take advantage of that and play other cards. There’s a lot to play for.”

Tomorrow’s tenth stage will see the first summit finish of the race as it covers a tough 167km route between Cordenons and the steep climb to Altopiano del Montasio. This will be the first opportunity for Wiggins to attack his rivals, but the British rider will have to beware of attacks from others.

“We’ll have to see what the stage holds,” Wiggins said. It could be that we have a go but I think the race will take its own shape. It’s not just about us. There’s the likes of Scarponi and anyone else who is willing to have a go.

“In the final kilometres it is every man for himself on the 20% sections,” he added. “The race will probably take care of itself it’s not a climb where you can defend all the way to the top and arrive with 20 guys.”

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