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Wiggins tips Nibali as the man to beat at the Giro d'Italia

Peter Cossins
April 29, 2013, 16:15,
April 29, 2013, 17:45
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 29, 2013
Giro d'Italia
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at a pre-Giro d'Italia press conference in Standish, England

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at a pre-Giro d'Italia press conference in Standish, England

  • Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at a pre-Giro d'Italia press conference in Standish, England
  • Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
  • Bradley Wiggins (Sky)

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Team Sky leader targets a rare Giro-Tour double

Six days before he begins his attempt to become the first British rider to win the Giro d'Italia, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has said he believes that Vincenzo Nibali, his biggest rival in this year's race, is in better condition than he was last year when he finished third at the Tour de France behind the Team Sky duo Wiggins and Chris Froome.

Speaking to the press at a hotel in Wigan, close to his home in the north on England, Wiggins said he had watched Nibali closely during the recent Giro del Trentino and was impressed by what he saw. "I watched him very, very closely. He's difficult to read because… he doesn't bluff, but he doesn't show a lot of emotion. He's very crafty.

"I think I learned more about him than he learned about me. I didn't really get the opportunity to let go on the climbs there. I had the issue with my bike, so they never really saw how I was, and the day before I couldn't really come through on him because we had Kosta [Siutsou] up the road. So it was all a bit cat and mouse."

Wiggins admits that the Giro route is more suited to the Astana leader, and has no doubts about how motivated Nibali will be. "The Giro is his pride and joy. I think there's a lot at stake for him in this race. He's the big Italian favourite. He's trained for this. This is his event. He's not doing the Tour after it, so this is his one big [objective].

"I think he's in the best shape that he's ever been in. He's got all of the attributes needed to win it – he love the big climbs, all those tricky little descents, and he well prepared for all the other things that the Giro throws at you. He's got a very strong team."

Wiggins added, though, that he is not afraid of the challenge that lies ahead, nor is he afraid of Nibali. "I don't fear him. I respect him. I know his strengths and I know his weaknesses. I think, in that respect, I certainly won't underestimate him. For me he's the man to beat, and I know what I have to do."

Wiggins says he has never been in such good form on the climbs, particularly the steeper ascents that have been seen as a particular weakness in the past. He admits Nibali may still have an edge in such terrain, but that edge may not be enough to win the Italian the Giro title.

"I still don't know whether I'll stay with Nibali on some of those really tough finishes, but I know that I'll only lose a couple of seconds here and there. I think at most, on some of those really steep finishes, I may lose 20 seconds to him if I'm on a bad day. But I'm pretty confident I can stay him on most of the climbs whatever he throws at me. That's all I have to do I think, because in the time trials that are there I think I can take the time on him," said the Briton.

Wiggins also picked out defending Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal as another man to watch.

"I don't underestimate anyone, but Hesjedal I've got to have an eye on. No one expected that of him last year. I saw him in Catalunya and he looked a shadow of himself and I thought, ‘He's not going to make it in time.' But when I saw him the Ardennes a month later he was like a different rider. All of sudden I was thinking, ‘He's back to where he needs to be.' Samuel Sánchez is another one, and Ivan Basso. He was a shadow of himself in Trentino, but he's been like that in the past and won the Giro. You just can't underestimate anyone. They are all potential rivals," said Wiggins.

Going for the Giro-Tour double

While Wiggins is focused on winning this year's Giro d'Italia, the Briton has also considered the scenario in which he becomes Sky's captain at the Tour de France, rather than Froome, in an attempt at a historic Giro-Tour double victory

"The best-case scenario at this stage is I win the Giro, I come out of it, stay healthy, we do all the training camps that we do in between the Giro and the Tour," Wiggins told AFP. "Chris's preparations continue as they are, he ends up winning the Dauphine and we both arrive at the Tour ready to go in the best possible (shape). And Dave's (Brailsford) got to make a call, somewhere there, as to who is the leader.

"At this stage, all being well, it may be that we end up joint leaders for that first week until the racing decides."

cthenn More than 1 year ago
B-b-but Froome already said he's the unquestioned leader of the Tour team?!?! LOL Sky, it's just like Hinault/Lemond all over again. I have no doubt if Froome is put back on Wiggo's leash at the tour, he will attack whenever, and wherever he pleases. No more towing Wiggo up the hills.
DrBigRing More than 1 year ago
Completely agree. Froome will definitely not ride for Wiggins at this year's TDF, no matter what team orders are issued.
Fangtastic More than 1 year ago
Can't see wiggins having much of a chance, suspect the racing will be similar to last years vuelta than the tour, even if he does still think he can be leader.
mattghg More than 1 year ago
For real. I imagine that Froome is doing his nut hearing these comments...
joe1265 More than 1 year ago
"it's just like Hinault/Lemond all over again" = exciting tour!
LukeTrigger More than 1 year ago
Having just finished reading Richard Moore's excellent "Slaying the Badger" the parallels are clear and you're right, it would make for an interesting subplot. Just a shame I don't think either has the charisma of Hinault's little finger...
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
I always maintained that Froome was crazy to slow down to help Wiggins by team order in exchange for I'll help you next year. You never know what is going to happen, illness, crash, other contenders condition, etc. If you have the chance to take a tour you have to grab it because for all you know it may never work out again. May be the biggest mistake in Froome's career.
Malcolm DingleFb More than 1 year ago
On the other hand, riders are paid not to win but to follow team orders which in some cases may mean being the rider with the pressure to win, at other times being the rider with orders to work for someone else. Its a job. As a South African I would love to see Froome win - after all, he started and learnt his initial pro racing in SA so it would be a good reflection on what the SA system can produce - but I would be disappointed to see him go against team orders even if he did feel he had been let down by last year's suggestions of support this year. His job is to ride for his team what ever those team orders are and if he didn't like it then he should not have signed on the dotted line for the big cheque after the 2011 Vuelta... However, I hope that Wiggins wins a monumental Giro but comes out of it knackered with just enough strength to help Froome to a Tour win - that would make decisions easy and keep the love in the team :-)
tralala More than 1 year ago
actually riders are paid to show the sponsor's jersey and what better way to do it than to win?right?
Alpe73 More than 1 year ago
Wiggins won .... was the higher profile rider (going in) ... Froome fulfilled his contractual obligations ... sponsors very happy with 1 & 2.... history. Now, this year's a different story.
cyclemike66 More than 1 year ago
And team promoters are paid to create controversy to rev up the media coverage of the TDF!
Doughnut More than 1 year ago
I suppose that depends on whether he would really have put enough time into Wiggins in those stages or whether he was following team orders and having the occasional 'dig' made him just look like he could. He certainly hasn't shown that he can sustain that kind of effort in any race since so I guess in the end he opted to take the big, fat pay cheque rather than a P45 and up his profile.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
If I was Froome I would have gone for it. Don't think it would have hurt Wiggins at all (unless it put him into 2nd place), as someone said 'it is a job' Froome's standing would have gone up win the Tour or not making more teams desire him. There would have been daily loads of controversy and publicity all centering about Sky, and incidentally it would have been great excitement to see if he could pull it off.
cyclepath More than 1 year ago
team sport!
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
look at Wiggins now talking of winning his second Tour when he promised Froome help and Froome says he has been assured full team support and that he is undisputed TDF leader for Sky. Teamwork, great when it works one way, but not the other. Look at the riders who helped Wiggins, Cavendish getting bottles from the team car, what did he get out of it but a desire to leave the team. Riders at the elite level (not perma-domestiques) want to win. Wiggins had Froome Cavendish and a host of others. He got the fame, the maillot jaune, the knighthood. Everyone else? If you have Froome's or Cav's talent this isn't good enough.
rainwatrz More than 1 year ago
Pinarello insists you're pictured standing by your dogma 2. . . or else. Also, marketing, ain't it great!
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Well, the press photographers require a bike in the photo and who else's could he use. Be fair!
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
I think marketing is getting a little extreme. I watch MotoGp, every minute the camera hits them they are reaching for their energy drink brand, on the podium they are all holding a can of the brand, never mind the logo is all over them and the motorcycle. Cycling is going this way. I doubt riders get to choose what they want to ride, they join a team and get the team bike, team presentations before big races always have the bike up there, if they use non-sponsored parts the logo is blacked out. For example does anyone think (I haven't used these grouppo's) SRAM is better than 9000 series Shimano or Campy SR? Yet look how many teams use it, I think because of sponsorship deals not rider choice.
agostinho More than 1 year ago
Eleven comments and not a single one is about his shirt. Great shirt! Wait a second, not a single one is about doping. Well I have to start: I think is doping because it's impossible to lose 4 hours in a grand tour one year and the following year be in the podium, at 30 years old.
agostinho More than 1 year ago
I'm going to reply: I think he is not doping because he trained so hard and Team Sky has the best coaches in the world.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Great shirt but the rest of what you say has ceased to be amusing
DaleUK More than 1 year ago
Lets get some facts, he DNF in 2011 due to a crash, In 2010 he finished just ahead of Cadel (the 2011 Winner) 28 mins back. In 2009 he finished 3rd . He also finished 3rd in The Vuelta in 2011, Won the Dauphine in 2011 I also remember. He did not take part in the tour in 2008 as he concentrated on the Olypics , 2 golds I remember. Its not like we are talking about someone who has no pedigree here.
agostinho More than 1 year ago
I know the facts, you don't need to remind me (but thanks for replying). I was just being ironic (that's why I made a comment saying one thing and then I replied saying the opposite), because I think this is the first time I don't see a comment about Wiggins and doping, and that's remarkable. By the way my real opinion is expressed on my second comment.
philjthommo More than 1 year ago
Cadel had a broken elbow in the 2010 tour. Beating cadel with a broken elbow is not something of note.
Doug Rand More than 1 year ago
Oh, my God is this the strategy of a champion? Champion or just boring? "... I may lose 20 seconds to him if I'm on a bad day ... all I have to do I think (is stay with Nibali on most climbs), because in the time trials that are there I think I can take the time on him"
ellenbrook2001 More than 1 year ago
hmm with all the respect for WIGGINGS if he lost only 20 seconds on NIBALI somenthing fishy here how WIGGINS can predicted ?????he must be on somenthing too be sure he wont fail ?????????so boring
mike73nz More than 1 year ago
Another comment from ellen who knows nothing about cycling. Your comments are pathetic. Sky are clean, Wiggins is clean. If you have some evidence please provide it, otherwise its just slander.Jog on missy.
Lance, remember Bassons? More than 1 year ago
Ellen, go back to MyFace or whatever it's called to post your childish, unfounded, uneducated and ineligible comments. Silly girl.
wigvelo More than 1 year ago
"ellen" grow up
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
It's certainly an unintelligible comment !
Almon Poole More than 1 year ago
Wiggins must be on damn good form to be talking about the Tour so early. He's better than Froome in the TT and only slightly less than him in the hills so we'll have to see what happens.....
geegee More than 1 year ago
Sky will lose Froom next season if they play this game of who's best, rivalry doesn't make a team. I think Porte; Henuo and Uran will back Froome ignoring orders. Make up your mind Brailsford
BAD_44 More than 1 year ago
Really? People throw baseless accusations. as if they are facts. at riders that are printed nonstop and my opinion is awaiting moderation.
maxmartin More than 1 year ago
"While Wiggins is focused on winning this year's Giro d'Italia, the Briton has also considered the scenario in which he becomes Sky's captain at the Tour de France, rather than Froome, in an attempt at a historic Giro-Tour double victory" LOL waiting for disgusting SKY drama in the Tour, someone possibly can profit from this internal duel!
Lance, remember Bassons? More than 1 year ago
"Disgusting SKY drama"......Wow, that SKY chip of yours is definitely getting bigger MM. is it because you Yanks had to dope to do what "we Brits" are doing clean?
Arnoldo More than 1 year ago
Wiggins is doing the Giro, knowing that he has an excuse for losing the Tour since its not suited to him like last year. I can hear it now "the Giro took too much out of me".