Tour de Pologne: Bradley Wiggins wins stage seven as Pieter Weening takes overall victory
Sir Bradley Wiggins time-trialled to his first win in more than a year on stage seven of the Tour de Pologne.
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 03/08/13 8:33pm
The 33-year-old Team Sky rider obliterated the field on a 37km course ending in Krakow with a stunning time of 46 minutes 36 seconds, beating second-placed Fabian Cancellara by 56 seconds and third-placed Taylor Phinney by 1min 14sec.
Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) claimed overall victory after leaping to the top of the general classification by finishing sixth on the final day. It was enough to beat Ion Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) into second place by 13 seconds and previous race leader Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale) into third by 16 seconds.
Wiggins's win was the first time he has stood on the top step of a podium since claiming gold at the Olympic time trial in London one year and two days ago.
It was the outstanding performance of his otherwise underwhelming season so far and his margin of victory over Cancellara suggests he is in form to challenge for victory at next month's world championship time trial in Florence.
The triumph also ended concern over the 2012 Tour de France winner's current condition in the wake of a series of subdued performances earlier in the race, particularly in the opening two mountain stages in the Dolomites.
The race-ending time trial started in Wieliczka and navigated a series of hills in the first 20km, before rolling gently down to the finish line.
With the field's best time-trial riders all well down on the general classification, the stage was destined to be decided early and it was Phinney (BMC) who set the first competitive time with a mark of 47min 50sec.
Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), a four-time world time trial champion, then lowered than by 18 seconds to 47min 32sec, and it looked like Wiggins could have his work cut out to go faster.
However, he was 26 seconds ahead of the Swiss rider at the intermediate split and continued to gain time on the run home as he re-emphasised his time-trialling prowess in impressive style.
Later in the afternoon, Weening, who left the start ramp fifth in the general classification, piled huge pressure on the four men above him by posting a fine time of 48min 20sec, just 1min 44sec down on Wiggins.
Sergio Henao (Team Sky), Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Izagirre followed but were all unable to avoid being overtaken in the standings, leaving Riblon as the only man who could deny Weening the win.
The Frenchman needed to cross the line no more than 27 seconds slower to retain the yellow jersey, but finished 43 seconds down and his time also saw him surrender the runner-up spot to Izagirre.
Stage seven result
1 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, 46:36
2 Fabian Cancellara (Sui) RadioShack-Leopard, +56secs
3 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC, +1:14
4 Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC, +1:20
5 Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +1:40
6 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE, +1:44
7 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +2:05
8 Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC, +2:13
9 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha, +2:15
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff, +2:17
1 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE, 31:58:07
2 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +13secs
3 Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +16
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff, +26
5 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, +51
6 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar, +51
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1:14
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale, +1:38
9 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana, +2:35
10 Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff, +2:50