Wiggins and Giro d’Italia illness: Should I stay or should I go?
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wiggins and Giro d’Italia illness: Should I stay or should I go?

by VeloNation Press at 4:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Injury
 
Briton and his team debating ongoing presence in race as health worsens

Bradley WigginsHe started the race believing that he was in the shape necessary to tilt at the first Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double since Marco Pantani in 1998 but any thoughts of achieving that goal finally evaporated today for Bradley Wiggins.

Already behind two minutes and five seconds due to weaknesses shown uphill and downhill in this years’s race, the Briton surrendered a further three minutes 17 seconds today and with it, any hope of turning around the situation and getting back in the hunt for the Maglia Rosa.

Rumoured for days to have been ill, yesterday’s admission that he had a chest infection was followed by confirmation today from his team that his condition had been further eroded. That was however already clear from how the stage progressed.

“Brad developed a head cold and a chest infection and has been on antibiotics,” team principal Dave Brailsford said after a rain-lashed stage to Trevisio. “His illness has got progressively worse and we knew ahead of the race this morning it was going to be tough for him to get through the stage.

“When you see a rider of Bradley Wiggins’ calibre struggling to hold the wheel in front of him on the flat you know that he’s ill. When you’re ill you’re ill and all you can do is your best to try and manage that illness. I think he showed great courage to battle through the stage to the finish.”

Wiggins lost contact on the descent of the final climb with just over 40 kilometres to go and struggled in to the finish, conceding three minutes and 17 seconds to stage winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step) plus the GC contenders.

The time loss saw last year’s Tour de France winner slip from fourth to thirteenth overall. He’s now five minutes and 22 seconds behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and is now battling simply to stay in the race rather than to win it.

Brailsford warned that his ongoing participation is not assured. “We’ll get back to the hotel and the team doctor will assess him overnight,” he said. “Then we’ll take a decision about whether Brad continues, health-permitting, in the morning. It’s a testament to Brad that he has said he wants to continue in the race and carry on to Brescia with the team.”

With Wiggins under pressure, the team has given its full backing to Rigoberto Uran for the overall standings. The Colombian remains third overall, and is within striking distance of Nibali, two minutes and four seconds back.

The team will now shift its emphasis towards closing that gap, with Wiggins to play a super-domestique role if he is indeed able to continue. That’s far from certain, though, with the likelihood appearing that he will withdraw and try to get back to peak condition for the Tour de France.

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