Sir Bradley Wiggins stormed into a Tour of Britain lead thanks to his fine work in the time trial on Tuesday, powering through Stage 3 faster than any other in the field.
With a time of 19 minutes and 54 seconds, the Briton comes to the front of the pack having not won either of the competition’s first two stages.
Gerald Ciolek was unable to hang onto his overall lead as a result of Wiggins’ performance and dropped off the pace by more than a minute.
With that being said, let’s have a look over Stage 3’s results and consider how things might shape up over the remainder of the week.
|1||Sir Bradley Wiggins||SKY||19'54"|
|4||Martin Elmiger||IAM Cycling||+00:54|
|6||David Lopez Garcia||SKY||+01:16|
|7||Alex Wetterhall||Net App Endura||+01:20|
|10||Mark Cavendish||Omega Pharma Quickstep||+01:26|
Speaking after his recent triumph, Wiggins commented that, while the conditions were far from optimum, he knew his desire to win would be enough to see him through, per TheTour.com:
I had to win today, whatever. The conditions weren't ideal for me, but I thought I'd rather end up in hospital today than be beaten, so it was 100% commitment.
I didn't flinch on the roundabouts in the wet, and fortunately the hospitals are close to where I live, so my wife could have visited me. I knew that...I was prepared to end up in hospital than lose the race today. It went perfect.
It’s perhaps not all too surprising to see Wiggins ride through the wet weather so well given his home advantage, but that only accounts for so much at this level of the sport.
What was even more encouraging for the 33-year-old was Sky teammate Ian Stannard finishing so close behind him in Stage 3, just 36 seconds off the pace set by Wiggins.
After retaking the gold jersey that embodied his 2012, the setbacks of recent months were, at least for a brief moment of jubilation, little more than an afterthought for Wiggins.
With such a strong performance in the time trial, the Belgium-born athlete has now served warning that he means business in this year's iteration of the Tour of Britain.
|Position||Rider||Team||Time and Deficit|
|1||Sir Bradley Wiggins||SKY||11:25:54|
The result may have been especially astounding for Alex Dowsett, who beat Wiggins soundly in the Giro d’Italia time trial earlier this year but was beaten by a full 56 seconds on Tuesday, finishing fifth overall.
Wiggins needs to take these opportunities. Time trials are his trademark, so he has to make sure he positions himself well before consolidating over the climbs.
The likes of Dan Martin, Nairo Quintana and Fabian Cancellara will all be hoping to capitalise upon Wiggins' weakness, and they still have a big hope of doing just that with five stages left in the competition.
Wednesday’s Stage 4 race from Stoke-on-Trent to Llanberis will be the first examination as to whether Wiggins' Olympic form can be maintained, but his bullish body-on-the-line attitude bodes well for the ride ahead.