Bradley Wiggins can tick winning the Giro d’Italia’s time trial and wearing the pink jersey off his list. He came to Amsterdam and met his objective on the opening day of the race.
Fans lined the streets and canals from the centre to the city’s Olympic Stadium to witness his ride, a three time Olympic champion on a mission to give team Sky a golden start to its first Grand Tour. He knocked off surprise leader Brent Bookwalter and held off world champion Cadel Evans. The city went crazy.
“It is an amazing feeling to be honest. It was really beautiful with the amount of people, almost comparable to the Tour de France in London in 2007,” Wiggins explained.
“Every few metres, I would inhale someone’s cigarette smoke or beer breath. I was hugging the barriers.”
The Londoner clocked ten minutes and 18 seconds over 8.4 kilometres. His ride was two seconds faster than Bookwalter and enough to secure one of racing’s coveted jerseys.
“It sounds really corny, but I have been such a fan since I was a kid. To wear the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia, such an iconic symbol, that the likes of [Maurizio] Fondriest and [Gianni] Bugno have worn.
“I realise what I have on my shoulders. It will be on my wall for the rest of my life. Apart from the Tour’s yellow, the pink jersey the most prized in cycling. And to take it in Amsterdam, in this city, it is probably even more special.”
Wiggins will face a battle to keep the ‘maglia rosa’ in the next two days, flat windy stages that offer time bonuses to the winner (20 seconds, 12 seconds and 8 seconds). In order to defend it, he plans to put up the same fight that he used to take it.
“Now that I am in this position we will fight to hold on to it as long as possible. There are some tough days ahead. If we lose it, we try to get it back at some point. The plan is to race this race, not just sit back.”
The point to take back the pink jersey will be the 33-kilometre team time trial on Wednesday, the race’s first day back in Italy. If Wiggins and Sky succeed there, then they have a chance to keep the jersey until the race reaches the country’s south.
Giro d’Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit