As Bradley Wiggins put it yesterday, the Giro d’Italia’s “first phase is over.” Sky came out with a stage win, a day in the leader’s pink jersey and a near miss in the team time trial.
Sky’s goal at the Giro d’Italia remains getting practice in its first Grand Tour to be ready for the Tour de France in July. Sky’s team principal, David Brailsford, plans is to keep Wiggins in the classification fight and the other eight riders focused on their support roles.
After yesterday’s near miss in the team time trial, though, Wiggins is seemingly out of the overall at 4’36” back from leader Vincenzo Nibali. Brailsford disagrees and has a plan for the next phase.
“We are very happy with how that phase one went. Take the crashes out and we feel that Brad would have been there on the GC,” Brailsford told Cycling Weekly.
“We are really happy with how we rode in the team time trial yesterday. A lot of the pack moved back towards Bradley. There are a lot of sprinters in there and guys who are specialists on the low mountains, so as soon as it starts going uphill we think that maybe he can start climbing up the GC.”
Brailsford does not expect Wiggins will move all the way to the top of the GC, but that he will lay the groundwork in Italy for a Tour de France win. Next Saturday, Wiggins and Sky will face the Giro d’Italia’s high mountains, a place to plan how to topple the Tour de France’s defending champion, Alberto Contador.
“The analysis of where you gain time, if there is not a team time trial or other time trials, then where do you gain time in the Tour? People are thinking about the Pyrenees and Contador, how do you limit your losses. We have been thinking about that. This first week has stimulated the thought processes on how to gain time and make gains.
“There are two ways, take a risk and gain something, move forward, or you can try to sit back and defend. I think we will go out and be more of the former rather than the latter.”
Wiggins will test himself and his team’s support against some of the same riders he will face at the Tour de France: Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre and Alexander Vinokourov. We can expect to see an aggressive Sky from the Dolomites until the final time trial into Verona.
Until the Dolomites, Brailsford said that there maybe opportunities for Steve Cummings and Chris Froome to try for a stage win.
Giro d’Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit