Tour of Britain: Wiggins sees Caerphilly finale as important test of race leadership
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tour of Britain: Wiggins sees Caerphilly finale as important test of race leadership

by Shane Stokes at 7:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Britain
 
Quintana, Martin and others certain to attack today

Bradley WigginsBradley Wiggins will face one of the most important tests to his leadership of the Tour of Britain today, with climbers such as Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana (Movistar) certain to fire off attacks on the fifth stage.

Martin tried to put Wiggins under pressure on yesterday’s final climb but the ascent of Pen Y Pass was neither long enough nor steep enough to make a difference. The Irishman jumped hard but Wiggins was able to cover the move; Martin’s team-mate Jack Bauer then went clear over the top of the climb but with windy conditions, a long descent coming afterwards and Wiggins’ team-mates chasing hard behind, he was soon reeled in.

“It was as tough as I thought it was going to be, with the tough weather and the wind,” said Wiggins afterwards, adding that his legs were sore after his winning effort in Tuesday’s time trial. “It always looks different on the tele, but the boys, to keep that gap down to 3:50 all the way, did an incredible job. If we knew it was going to come back as easy as it did in the last ten, fifteen k, then perhaps we should have left it a bit more.

Martin, Quintana and others will have a better opportunity today, with the 177.1 kilometre Machynlleth to Caerphilly offering a much lumpier terrain, plus a real sting at the end.

Approximately 84 kilometre from the end the riders will reach the summit of the first category Cwm Owen climb, then 32 kilometres later they will crest the third category Brecon Becons.

After an unrated ascent 37 kilometres from the end, the peloton will race on to the two ascents of Caerphilly mountain. Coming twelve and four kilometres from the end, the first category climb was very decisive during last year’s race, enabling Jonathan Tiernan Locke to break clear and grab a race leader’s jersey he would hold until the end of the race.

“Tomorrow's another day though, an important day,” Wiggins said yesterday, thinking ahead to what he will face this afternoon. “I think the race will be decided on the two laps. I looked at this stage last week, so it's going to be another tough day…probably the toughest really because of that finish circuit.

“Twice up Caerphilly, every one knows it…it has become a bit of a legendary stage on the Tour of Britain.”

Wiggins is 37 seconds clear of Ian Stannard, but the Sky rider has been riding in support of his team leader and isn’t a threat. IAM Cycling’s Martin Elmiger is ten seconds further back in third and will certainly try to grab yellow, as will Bauer, who is 55 seconds back.

Martin is one minute 38 seconds in arrears while Quintana is one minute 56 seconds back. He was quick to latch onto Martin’s wheel yesterday and is also clearly looking for a chance to reduce his deficit.

With Saturday and Sunday’s stages being much flatter, the riders will have one more chance tomorrow to really put Wiggins under pressure. The category one summit finish of Haytor could create gaps, but the deficit simply has to be reduced today.

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