Wiggins 'on cloud nine' at Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France 2009, stage 8
Bradley Wiggins is still fifth overall in the Tour de France after another strong ride in the Pyrenees on Saturday.
The Briton came into the Tour de France not knowing if he could stay with the overall contenders but he has now done it for two consecutive days. He even looked one of the strongest in the select front group that formed after Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) accelerated on the Col d'Agnes.
Wiggins finished 24th in Saint Girons, 1-54 behind stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne). He is still fifth, 46 seconds down on Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r).
He was rightly proud of another impressive performance.
“I'm on cloud nine and so I'm riding on morale. I'm getting more and more confident every day," he told Cycling Weekly.
“It was a pretty standard day, a lot easier than I thought it would be to be honest. I felt best on the first climb. The hardest point of the day was when Andy Schleck attacked on the last climb. But I still had the legs to go with him and I knew he couldn't sustain it and that once he stopped we could all recover. After that I still felt good and so it's another day down.”
Many of the other overall contenders in the Tour de France have been surprised to see Wiggins rode so well on the major climbs but he looked one of the best in the select front group on the last climb.
“It's better for my head when I'm right at the front,” he said.
“Christian keeps telling me that you've got to fight with these guys like it's a sprint, whether they get p**sed or not. You've got to keep fighting and not worry about what anyone thinks.”
Wiggins admits that some riders are probably questioning his sudden ability to climb well in the Tour de France. But he does not care and bluntly makes it clear.
“I think a lot of people think I'm on drugs to be honest. I'm sure of it. I know how the sport is,” he said.
“A lot of guys are going to be thinking. 'What's Wiggins been doing?” That's unfortunate but I'm not Schumacher, I'm not Bernhard Kohl. I've worked hard for this....”
And now he's getting the rewards for his hard work.