Wiggins romps to victory in time trial and grasps overall lead
Sir Bradley Wiggins produced a dominant performance to win Tuesday's Tour of Britain time trial and go top of the general classification.
The Team Sky rider clocked 19 minutes 54.20 seconds over stage three – a rain-lashed 16-kilometre course that started and ended in Liverpool’s Knowsley Safari Park.
That was enough to propel him into the gold jersey – 33 seconds ahead of fellow Briton Ian Stannard in the overall standings after his Team Sky colleague finished runner-up in 20min 26sec.
Wiggins will now aim to defend his lead over the next five days of racing, but will feel he has laid the foundations for success. He has endured a difficult season to date, including a failed bid at the Giro d’Italia, but he is now shaping up well for a tilt at the World Championships in Florence, Italy, later this month.
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“Admittedly, it’s not been a great season up to now for one reason or another, but I’ve been training right through July and I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve gone round this course,” said the Olympic champion, who came into the stage in 12th place.
“It was nice to do a performance like that after the last two days.
“To win these races, I’m not a great climber, so I had to get as much out of that time trial as possible. I had to take every second I could, really.”
Wiggins escaped lightly from a high-speed crash in the Lake District on Monday and was pleased with the way he attacked the course in treacherous conditions.
“It was obviously down to commitment on the roundabouts and in the rain. I wanted to take those roundabouts as fast as I could.
“Crashing yesterday, not flinching and getting back in there, it’s not like me. I normally take my bat home!”
New Zealander Jack Bauer was third in the time trial, finishing 42 seconds short of Wiggins’ mark, while Mark Cavendish produced a creditable 21min 20sec in one of his less favoured stages, but there was slight disappointment for Movistar’s Alex Dowsett.
The three-times British time-trial champion beat Wiggins at the Giro d’Italia and came in with high hopes here, only to fall well short with a time of 20min 50sec. Overnight leader Gerald Ciolek of MTN Qhubeka fell off the pace after clocking 21min 45sec.