Illness forces Wiggins on the defensive at the Giro d'Italia

Team Sky leader hit by a worsening cold and chest infection

When asked by some roadside tifosi how he was feeling as he put on a cape ready for the descent to the team bus after Giro d'Italia stage to Vajont, Bradley Wiggins made the sign of the cross, indicting he was dead.

It was perhaps an exaggeration by the Tour de France winner. He finished in the main peloton at the end of the 182km stage and remains fourth overall, 2:05 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). However he revealed that his cold and chest infection are getting worse, not better.

"I'm not feeling very good at the moment. I've had a pretty rough 24 hours," he said, wrapping a towel around his neck and closing his cape tightly.

"I just want to try and fight through it and hope that in a few days time I'll be alright. Most of the team has been sick. It seems to last three or fours days and then you get better."

Wiggins is fortunate that the next two stages are flat and should end in sprints. Rain is expected for Thursday's stage from Longarone to Treviso but it is just 134km long.

"I've got a chest infection and a box-standard head cold. Fortunately in these days, these kind of stages, there's just a bit of fighting and you can get through them and hide a little bit. That's the plan for the next few days," he said.

Asked by BeIN television if the Giro d'Italia is harder than the Tour de France, he replied: "The Tour of Picardie is a bloody hard race if you get sick. There's only so much you can do."

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