Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) stopped almost as soon as he crossed the finish line near the banks of snow on Monte Bondone and gasped for air after going deep on the 19km climb above Trento on the final stage of the Giro del Trentino.
He finished a minute behind stage winner Mikel Landa (Astana) but was only 23 seconds behind overall winner Cadel Evans (BMC) and only 18 seconds behind Michele Scarponi (Astana), a big improvement over previous stages where he was tasked to working for his team.
While Evans and Scarponi are both targeting the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia and used the Giro del Trentino to polish their form, Wiggins arrived after a spell of dieting and training in Mallorca following Paris-Roubaix. He is still several kilograms heavier than when he won the 2012 Tour de France but put up an impressive performance on the twisting 8% climb up Monte Bondone.
Wiggins finished three and half minutes ahead of teammate Kanstantsin Siutsou, who will lead Team Sky at the Giro d'Italia along with Dario Cataldo. Wiggins was strong throughout the Giro del Trentino, indicating that he will be a contender at the Tour of California and can play a vital role in Chris Froome's Tour de France squad.
Wiggins did not hang around after catching his breath, and quickly rode to the Team Sky bus down a two-kilometre descent so he could make a quick get away and catch a flight home. He was no doubt satisfied after looking to test his form.
Directeur sportif Dario Cioni was pleased with Wiggins' performance. Team Sky cleverly placed Philip Deignan in the break of the day, forcing BMC and other teams to chase because the Irishman was well placed overall.
"We had a meeting before the stage and the execution was perfect," directeur sportif Dario confirmed in the Team Sky website.
"We didn’t want the break to go to the end so we made sure Philip was in there. It gave him a chance to get out there and ride but his decent GC position also meant that BMC had to chase a bit."
"The plan was for Kosta to go hard for a GC place and for Brad to look to see what he could do on the stage. Brad managed to get up there with the select lead group which was good to see and he has been climbing better and better this week."