Podium the aim, as Brit prepares for the Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins took the lead of the Criterium du Dauphiné after his strong performance against the clock in Wednesday's time trial through Grenoble. Though the Englishman didn’t exactly look happy after losing the stage by ten seconds to Tony Martin, he did do enough to take the overall lead by 1:11 over three-time runner up at the event, Cadel Evans. Upon reflection the Brit denied being disappointed with the day.
"I’m always like that", Wiggins said to Cyclingnews. "In time trials, I’m always very focused. I’m in my own world and I’m hardly satisfied at the end. But I had good sensations during this race today."
During the race, Wiggins was seen on TV saying something to his directeur sportif Sean Yates.
"I was telling Sean to keep talking to me because we did the lap in the car this morning and I wasn’t 100% sure whether there was anything tricky on that last descent so I was telling him to keep giving me the info about which corners you could take full gas and so on", the multiple Olympic champion explained.
"Tony Martin and I didn’t have the same weather conditions but that’s what time trial is about", Wiggins continued. "It was just about GC for me today. I’m here for training for the Tour de France. I didn’t want to take unnecessary risks in the downhill. I knew that Vinokourov, Van den Broeck and the other GC guys were slower than me. This was a fantastic course, a very, very nice one for a time trial. I think it was even harder than it’ll be at the Tour in July. I’m in great shape but I’m still preparing for the Tour de France."
Team Sky also enjoyed an impressive team performance, with Edvald Boasson Hagen taking third place, Geraint Thomas seventh and Rigoberto Uran, 17th.
"It was a good effort all round", said Yates. The Norwegian champion was back at his right place the day after losing 4.50 and the white jersey because of a mechanical when the British team was victim of a split in the bunch. "Shit happens," said Boasson Hagen who was philosophical about the incident. "The most important thing was that Bradley Wiggins got back on and didn’t lose time. I’m here to help him."
Wiggins didn’t hide his ambitions in Grenoble. "I’ll keep riding the Dauphiné as well as I can", he said. "I will fight for this yellow jersey, whatever it takes. Vinokourov and the other guys haven’t said their last word. The weekend stages are really like Tour de France stages. I’m in good shape and every climb is like a time trial for me. My goal is to get a podium finish, like at Paris-Nice [The Brit finished 3rd overall]. I’ve got a good weight and strength right now. Last year I was fit but with no power. This year is different."
The Critérium du Dauphiné continues on Thursday with a 173.km stage to Mâcon that looks likely to end with a bunch sprint.