Bradley Wiggins is one tiny step closer to his goal of being only the ninth rider in history to win both the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de France after taking a slim second place to Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge in Grenoble today.
If there was any year that the Sky Procycling rider could chalk his name up next to Louison Bobet, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Louis Ocaña, Bernard Thévenet, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, this is it: Wiggins has won Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie, and the long time trials in both the Dauphiné and Tour de France favor Wiggins.
After the 5.7km test today, Wiggins is just one second shy of Durbridge's race lead. "I'm happy enough to finish second but it's about the whole week. I couldn't have asked for better today," he said on TeamSky.com.
Wiggins as defending champion was the last rider off from the start house on a day where the weather changed drastically throughout the stage. Some riders rode through rain showers, but both Durbridge and Wiggins enjoyed dry roads.
"It's always the same with prologues," Wiggins said. "With riders going three hours apart there's always different conditions. The wind changed massively today. Some guys had disadvantages on the course elsewhere at the start and also advantages. That changed and you can't really compare rides. At the end of the day the result is the result and that's just the pick of prologues.
"I'm just pleased it stayed dry really because it's never nice riding a prologue in the rain. It was perfect. I stayed safe and I'm where I want to be at the moment and I'm just trying to enjoy it."
After months of preparation for the next two months, Wiggins is happy to put the training behind him and get on with the race.
"We're getting close now. It's always nice when the goal is coming up. We've done all the work now and it's been a long process. We're four weeks away from the Tour now so there's not much training to do. It's nice that that's all done and we can race now."