Bradley Wiggins faced his first mountaintop finish today since the Mont Ventoux at last year’s Tour de France. He finished one minute 22 seconds behind winner Chris Anker Sørensen on the Giro d’Italia’s stage to Monte Terminillo, but more importantly, he maintained the pace with his Tour de France rivals.
“I am pretty pleased with that, I hung in there as long as 1,500 metres out and then I couldn’t go with the accelerations the guys were making,” Wiggins told Cycling Weekly. “I think we were about eight or nine riders at that point, so I was pretty pleased to be there in that company.”
Wiggins confirmed his fourth overall at the Tour de France on the Mont Ventoux last year and locked in his status as a classification rider. However, his first steps towards the Tour de France overall classification were taken at the Giro d’Italia.
“I keep relating back to this time last year, and I was still no where on these stages, like 30th, 40th. To still be there in that company, I was pretty pleased,” continued Wiggins.
“I didn’t feel brilliant today, but still good enough to put it behind me and fight through. I think everyone had a tough day today because yesterday was so hard.”
One of Wiggins’ Tour de France rivals, Cadel Evans, won yesterday’s muddy and wet stage to Montalcino. In Evans’ company was Alexandre Vinokourov, who will be Alberto Contador’s key domestique for Astana in July.
Today, Wiggins stayed with them and with Liquigas duo, Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, up most of the 16.1-kilometre climb north of Rome.
“They are all looking pretty good. I know Cadel has been targeting this race,” Wiggins said, partly explaining Evans’ strength. “I will have a bit more to come for the Tour.”
Giro d’Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit