Thursday’s sixth 2009 Tour de France stage starts in Garmin’s home town of Girona on Thursday but Bradley Wiggins is already thinking ahead to Friday’s stage to Andorra Arcalis, the first big mountain stage of this year’s race.
Wiggins finished in 47th place in the peloton in Perpignan on Wednesday, in the same time as Mark Cavendish (Columbia), seven seconds behind stage winner Thomas Voeckler.
He has already put second place in the team time trial behind him and predicts a riot in the Pyrenees.
“I didn’t think we’d win it (the team time trial) but I was hoping for yellow… but they (Astana) were better than us. We couldn’t have gone any faster,” he said munching on a bowl of cereal as he talked to Cycling Weekly.
Wiggins remembers the climb to Arcalis from a past edition of the Tour of Catalonia.
“It’s going to be a tough one and the s***’s going to go down with Astana,” he predicted.
“I think Contador is going to rip it to bits. It’s going to be crazy. That’s the first big stage, then the next two after that will give the race a bit more of a pattern. Aynthing can happen in Andorra now.”
“If we could start at one minute intervals at the bottom it’d be perfect…” Wiggins joked.
“The hardest thing is starting the race at the front, that’s a race in it’s self.”
WIGGINS STILL AIMING FOR TOP TEN PLACE OVERALL
Wiggins is still sixth overall, 38 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Lance Armstrong (Astana). He is still convinced he can be an overall contender.
“I’m in the form of my life. I think I go top 15 physically, even top 10,” he says.
“It’s just that so much goes in to that, you’ve got to be on it every day. I lost 40 seconds the other day for lack of concentration. Cadel (Evans) is four minutes behind already for no fault of his own. I’m still there, I’m still in the ball park, so I’ve got to keep plugging away. I’ve got to stay with Dave (Millar) and Christian (Vande Velde) because they’ve got the experience. I’ve got to try and get through the Pyrenees as close as possible to the best guys.”
Like most of the peloton, Wiggins was tired from the tension of fighting for position on the road to Perpignan.
“It was really nervous and there are so many different levels in this Tour. There are 100 blokes who are good and 100 blokes who are no good and they’re all mixed up. And as soon as there’s a moment when it splits, it gets so hard to be at the front.”
Both Wiggins and Millar were looking forward to starting Thursday’s stage in Girona, their adopted home town and team base.
“It’ll be good,” Millar told Cycling Weekly “It’s always more relaxing when you start in your home town. I’ll get to see my fiancee and hang out. It’ll be very nice and homely.”
Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage
Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second
Tour de France stage four TTT coverage
Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador
Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint
Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial
LATEST TOUR NEWS
Tour de France 2009 News Index>>
Analysis: Why Contador’s chances rose when Armstrong missed yellow
Delgado criticises Astana for Armstrong manoeuvre
Armstrong: Gaining time on Contador was not the objective
Stage three analysis: Why the bunch split and who gained the most
The Feed Zone: Monday, July 6
Analysis: Why Columbia must expect to do the bulk of the chasing
TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 PHOTOS
Stage four TTT photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Team presentation by Andy Jones
Team presentation by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2009 on TV: Eurosport and ITV4 schedules
Big names missing from 2009 Tour de France
Tour de France anti-doping measures explained
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Cycling Weekly’s rider profiles