Sir Bradley Wiggins second in Giro d'Italia time trial as Alex Dowsett takes stage
Sir Bradley Wiggins overcame a bike change to finish a strong second in the stage eight time trial at the Giro d'Italia.
Last Updated: 14/05/13 10:48am
The Olympic time trial champion (Team Sky) crossed the line 10 seconds back on his countryman and former team-mate Alex Dowsett (Movistar) in a performance which elevated Wiggins back up to fourth overall.
While stage victory was the aim, Wiggins displayed a controlled performance across the mammoth 54.8-kilometre course and finished with a flurry on the final drag up to Saltara, putting time into all of his GC rivals.
A tough finale on Friday still left its mark on the general classification, with new race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) taking an advantage of one minute and 16 seconds into the mountains after a strong performance.
Tanel Kangert (Astana) produced a surprise third place in the stage, finishing seven seconds ahead of team-mate Nibali. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was the next of the big GC names home in seventh, the Australian moving up to second place overall just 29 seconds down on Nibali.
After the stage Wiggins told TeamSky.com: "I think there was some initial disappointment because I wanted to win the stage. It's been a challenging few days with the crash yesterday and then to come back up. It wasn't an easy course. I've said all along that it wasn't one of those ones where you could take three or four minutes out of people because it was so technical at the start.
"Then obviously to have a puncture and have to change bikes and disrupt the rhythm is never going to help. But then the second part of the course was really suited to me and I took back a lot of time on people there. It is what it is and it's put us right back up there now. It's going to be a hell of a race for the next two weeks."
Over such a long distance the 33-year-old added that it was important to gauge the effort and to look to have something in reserve for the final kilometres.
"I think I rode it pretty well," he continued. "I was a bit ruffled after the bike change and didn't get the best out of myself on that technical part of the course. It was a bit damp still as well so I was a bit cautious - especially after crashing yesterday. But from Pesaro onwards I really got into my stride and I think physically I was as good as I've ever been. But it is the way it is. We'll deal with it now, but I'm pleased at the same for Alex Dowsett. It's a brilliant start to his Grand Tour career."
With the dynamic of the race now set to change as Astana defend the jersey, Wiggins isn't ruling anything out.
"There are two weeks to go. The last week's going to be very difficult and the time gaps are relatively small still. A minute and 16 to Nibali still with all the problems yesterday isn't that bad it's all to play for. It's not easy to defend a Grand Tour lead so it's not a bad position to be in.
"We're still here and we've got three guys in the top 10 now. We've got a few cards to play."
Team Sky's Colombian pairing Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Urán continued their strong Giro campaigns, finishing ninth and 12th on the day to elevate themselves to seventh (+2:11) and 10th (+2:49) overall respectively.
Despite the threat of rain, Wiggins blasted down the ramp in bright sunlight aboard the new Pinarello Bolide time trial bike but was forced to change machine during the twisty first section with a puncture.
Thirteenth quickest through the first intermediate saw Wiggins with it all to do while Dowsett endured a tense afternoon sitting nervously in the hot seat.
Defending Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was perhaps the biggest loser of the day, the Canadian dropping +2:23 at the finish to sit sixth overall. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) was the last man down the ramp but the Spaniard was not able to hang on to the maglia rosa and dropped out of the overall top 10 to 14th.
Stage eight result
1 Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar, 1:16:27
2 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +10 secs
3 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana, +14 secs
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +21 secs
5 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco, +32 secs
6 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, +35 secs
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +39 secs
8 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff, +45 secs
9 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, +53 secs
10 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +53 secs
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 29:46:57
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +29 secs
3 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco, +1.15
4 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +1.16
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +1.24
6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp, +2.05
7 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, +2.11
8 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini, +2.43
9 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida, +2.44
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +2.49