Bradley Wiggins travels back to Britain after leaving Giro d'Italia
Bradley Wiggins, Giro d'Italia 2013
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) quit the Giro d'Italia today to recover and to be 100 per cent ready for the Tour de France.
"I think the decision has been taken to stop me so that I can be 100 per cent ready for the Tour," Wiggins said on his way to Verona airport today. "If I had continued the Giro, I would have worsened the situation and I would've needed more time to recover. So the team decided just to stop me to be in shape for the Tour."
Chris Froome received the nod around two weeks ago from team Sky to lead its Tour team. Wiggins presumably will go there to help Froome and provide the team with a second option.
Team Sky continues in the Giro d'Italia with Colombian Rigoberto Urán as its leader following Wiggins' departure.
Wiggins had been taking antibiotics to deal with a chest infection, but was not improving. The final straw was yesterday's rain-soaked stage to Treviso. Wiggins lost time on a small descent and was unable to follow in the group's wheels on the flat roads.
"It was hard yesterday to not able to stay in the wheels on the flat or on the simple climbs, I'm not used to that," he added. "That was a signal that something wasn't right. I could only imagine what would've happened Saturday... In this state, it's impossible to compete with the best; I have to be at the top to beat people like Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans. My Giro is over."
Bradley Wiggins weathering the storm on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia
He added it is upsetting, but will recoup back at home and look ahead.
"It's something that I wasn't able to control, so it truly upsets me to stop this way because we came here to do a whole lot more. But life goes on," he said.
"This morning the doctor said, 'That's it!' I didn't sleep much last night, yesterday was a terrible day and today would've been a very long stage [the longest in the Giro - ed.]. The question is for how much longer would I've been able to battle on and for what reason considering the GC was already gone? It's hard to be at the Giro and to remain only a number, when everyone around you is expecting something else."
The future, the Tour de France is on Wiggins' mind.
"I probably won't watch the Giro on TV at home," Wiggins added. "I have to unplug completely for a few days, only in that way can I think about the future."
Wiggins will undergo checks in Manchester and spend time with his family at home. The team said he should already be back training this week.