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Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished 30th on stage 9, nearly five minutes down on stage winner Sandy Casar.
Team Sky rider adjusts his goals after disappointing stage
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) again lacked the acceleration and pure climbing ability to go with Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck when the race exploded on the Col de la Madeleine. While the other two fought it out, often shoulder to shoulder, Wiggins fought his own battle to limit his losses and hang to the hopes of a top ten placing overall in this year's Tour de France.
The 30-year-old Briton finished 30th on the stage, 4:44 behind stage winner Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) and is now 16th overall, at 7:18.
"That's just the way it goes. That's life, unfortunately. You try your hardest, you do everything possible to be in good shape and obviously I'm not up there with the best of them. But it's only sport at the end of the day. We put everything into it, it hasn't worked. It's not because we haven't tried," he said philosophically.
Wiggins, like Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers and Carlos Sastre, is now fighting to save his and Team Sky's Tour de France.
Having suffered in the mountains so far, he is ready to fight for a place in the top ten and has the advantage of the final time trial to Bordeaux to gain some final chunks of time. He knows he will have to fight all the way across the Massif Central and through the Pyrenees.
"I'll just do my best every day. I don't think the GC's finished totally in terms of getting a respectable position. But I'll try and do my best to finish top ten and just keep pushing on for that and get the best out of myself each day.
"I don't want to give up, there's been so much support out there on the road it's been fantastic. I don't want to give up and throw my toys out of the pram, finish at the back or go home, so I'm going to just push on every day and maybe just recalibrate, say top 10 is now the goal."