Bradley Wiggins found himself back in the hunt for the Giro d’Italia title after today’s gruelling stage to L’Aquila. Thanks to being part of escape group, with three Sky team-mates, Wiggins now is positioned 10th overall at eight minutes back from leader Richie Porte.
“It is certainly not over,” Wiggins told Cycling Weekly. “We will keep going, we still have this process of going for the GC, even though we were well out of it this morning. We are right back in it now, or certainly up there.”
His 12-minute gain changed his outlook on the overall classification. This morning, he said, “It was sort of a blessing in disguise,” to be out of the classification.
Wiggins led the Giro d’Italia classification for one day after winning the first day’s time trial in Amsterdam. He lost time due to crashes and last weekend, drifted further back in the classification.
Today’s 264-kilometre slog through southern Italy, though, changed the order of the classification. Former leader Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali (both Liquigas-Doimo) all missed the escape group and they had little chance of pulling it back after it reached 18 minutes.
“Those sorts of things happen once every ten years. It was a bit strange for 60 riders to go clear, and once we were 60 I don’t think there was no way anyone was going to get us back,” Wiggins continued.
“The last time I can remember [something similar] was watching the Tour de France as a kid in 2001, when Stuart [O'Grady] took the yellow jersey back in the Tour de France. Those days are pretty rare in cycling.”
Astana and BMC Racing both lost two riders each today and neither was keen on helping pull back the escape. Liquigas finally made an effort towards the later part of the stage, but it was too late.
“It was strange, I don’t know quite what happened with Vino, if they didn’t quite realise how many guys were up the road. Essentially, it was 30 riders, then it split on the climb and another 30 came. So I don’t know if they thought we were the 30-man breakaway, but everyone who was in the break profited.
“I think there was a bit of a stalemate, no one wanted to commit and chase. They paid the price for that, and it didn’t help with the weather and distance. It was epic.”
For Wiggins to further profit from today’s escape, he will need to maintain himself in the high mountains starting with Saturday’s stage to Asolo. If he can stay with the remaining favourites, including 2008 Tour de France winner, Carlos Sastre, then he will be at an advantage in the mountain time trial to Plan de Corones and the final day’s time trial to Verona.
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit