Sky’s Bradley Wiggins ended the first Pyrenees stage today in Ax 3 Domaines upset with his Tour de France performance. He cleaned himself at the team bus and then spoke frankly with the press.

“To be honest with you, I am f**ked, mate. It is as simple as that, I ain’t going to lie to you,” explained Wiggins. “I am just trying my hardest, battling on. Rather than give up.”

The first day in the Pyrenees included the two high-mountain climbs. Wiggins lost time on the first and never recovered for the second to the finish in Ax 3 Domaines.

Wiggins finished nearly five minutes behind winner Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) and, more importantly, 3’51” behind overall leader Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank). He now sits 18th overall, 11’30” back, with three more mountain stages to come and a long time trial.

Expectations were high for Wiggins after he finished fourth overall last year behind Alberto Contador. Pressure mounted when he switched from Garmin to join and lead the British-based Team Sky.

“It is a huge learning curve, my first year where I really tackled it full-on like this,” Wiggins continued. “Last year was a bit of fluke. It is easy to think you can get it right this year.”

The mountains continue tomorrow with a stage to Bagnères-de-Luchon, which contains three high-mountain climbs. Sky may continue to support Thomas Löfkvist, who had his freedom to ride ahead today instead of remaining with Wiggins.

Löfkvist said that Sky had given him his freedom today in case Wiggins had a bad day. He finished 2’29” ahead of Wiggins and is now 16th overall at 9’46” back.

“This year, Brad is not physically in that front group. It is as simple as that. You either got it or you haven’t,” said Sky team manager David Brailsford.

“We always said he was going to commit 100 per cent. If that is good enough for the win, great, or for 10th, great.”

Wiggins agreed, despite being upset.

“I am not giving up on anything,” added Wiggins. “I will just keep pushing on and do my best, and see where that is in Paris.”

He said on the rest day six days ago that his aim was for a top 10.

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  • Frank Clavis

    A major disappointment so far,Wiggins will come back from a painful learning curve in preparation.he looked overdone right from the start, you need more meat on your bones to take on the TDF its not a pursuit.
    As so far as the Sky Team is concerned team management from a kiwi point of view made a big mistake in concentrating on the featherweights in the team to support Bradley, they should have taken off the rose coloured glasses and put some hard arse into the team proven beyond doubt to mix it in the sprints and fast stages and cobbles. Greg Henderson was probably tjhe best Sky Team rider to give some return on the rider investment. Supported by his results in the Giro and previous races.

  • Seacilin

    Well, I still think he’s great.

  • John s

    Just returned from spending a week over in France, had actually hoped to meet Wiggo etc in Morzine , Saw the stage into Avoriaz then about an hour later asked a chap in plain clothes on a SKY team bike where they were staying he said he didnt know ?? – funny seeing how D.Brailsford was inscribed on the bike ( it wasnt Brailsford on the bike but definately one of the back room staff) Amazing really never did get to see them – but quite the opposite of how open and accomodating the staff and riders from BMC , Radioshack , Lampre , etc were had a great time !

  • Paul McCamley

    If you compete in the Giro D’italia as Bradley did, you are more or less a marked man relegated to a non contender in the Tour. Deja vous, seen it so many times before. He was probably well geared up otherwise, less weight than before, altitude training. But one thing he wasn’t prepared for maybe are the extremely high energy sapping temperatures on the current Tour, can’t understand the use of a black kit; built in solar panel maybe for the on board computer? *S* Run a few marathons in my time, a white vest is an essential, so you don’t overcook in the sun. I run of course in an upright position, poor cyclists are in a horizontal position on the bike, even more exposed to the sun.

  • arronski

    Forget the GC and Go all out for stage win in TT, like he should have in the fist TT !

    Think the stuffing’s been knocked out of him , ( looks like he needs a good roast dinner to me) !

    Go Wiggo!

  • John Dee

    Adrian T has made the most perceptive of all the comments.
    The TDF is nothing like a track event – you can’t control the un-contorlable! For Dave Brailsfords information there never was not will there ever be a ‘Project Podium’ with Bradley. Sky have become a laughing stock as ‘Project Podium’ becomes ‘Project Survival’! What about poor Thomas Ljungvist – sacrificed for a lost cause – change teams Thomas.
    Let us hope that Cav never goes near Sky – but I guess he is clever enough to know that already?

  • Hadyn Bosher @ 77in Thailand

    Re. Dannyboy.Was my comment an hour ago but hasn’t showed,you have it DEAD RIGHT,if i was Murdoch i’d “pull the plug’ !!big con.

  • Mark Jones

    Wiggins is always just that bit off the pace and if he continues to lose time like he did yesterday then he will struggle to finish in the top 30. It is a shame such high expectation was placed on him in the first place, as he was never a serious contender and Garmin must be laughing all the way to the bank. Realistically, Wiggins is a top 10 finisher at best if he has the form and the course/weather suits him and it would probably me more useful if he can work as a domestique in future years helping a real British contender in the mountains. Brailsford has lost a lot of my respect over the past couple of weeks and Sky have been the dullest team in the peloton (barring G’s first week), but hopefully they can learn from this if they were to get invited back again.

  • Allan P

    Wiggins should concentrate more on the smaller tours like tour de suisse.
    Although Wiggins is a very good rider (a million times better than me) unfortunately
    I just don’t think he will ever win the tour de france – Its a bit like expecting England
    to win the world cup.

  • dannyboy

    First the england sqaud, then murry and now this….. feel sorry for brad, seems he beleived in the sky hype. seems to me brailsford and yates found a way of printing money, conned murdoch and feathered their nests using wiggo as a fall guy. sky bus and the personel mattresses must be the laughing stock of the peleton. poor wiggo – go thomas liqvuist!!!

  • Reece H

    good to see that lofkvist fiiiiiiinaly be given some freedom other than having to wait for brad on every stage

  • Adrian T

    The fact that last year was a total fluke can’t really come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t been swept up in the banal and quite tiresome Sky circus.

  • arronski

    Tuff on Wiggins, sky put huge pressure on him, (gonna win the tour in next 3 years, blah blah), this aint a track race after all… i think he is a good climber on his day ..but cant compete with the mountain goats…he’s more off a sheep lol.