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Brad Wiggins (Sky) waves to fans after finishing second.
Team Sky Briton sought to salvage his Tour of Britain
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) sought to salvage his Tour of Britain with an attacking performance on stage five to Glastonbury. The Englishman joined an early eight-man move on another tough stage, which began climbing up to Dartmoor from the start, and he was the first to attack as the finish approached.
"I attacked with 12km to go," said Wiggins, "but they got me back and sat on me a bit. When Dan Martin and [stage winner Marco] Frapporti went, the others messed around a bit and I thought, 'sod it,' and put my head down and rode in the right hand gutter, because it was a super strong headwind."
By then Frapporti had gone it alone, with Martin - also one of the main aggressors the previous day - drifting back to the group. Wiggins made a big effort in the closing stages in a late bid to bridge up to Frapporti.
"Dan [Hunt, Sky's sports director] was coming on the radio telling me, 'You've got ten metres, twenty metres' [on the group], but I just couldn't reach him," said Wiggins. He eventually came in 13 seconds behind the Italian stage winner, with Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Saxo Bank) taking the sprint for third, a further 19 seconds back.
Wiggins said that his bid for a stage win was an effort to turn around a disappointing home tour. He had been one of three Sky men in the 18-man break that claimed 10 minutes on Sunday's second stage, but he and Geraint Thomas both conceded more than a minute at the end, having set up the finish for stage winner Greg Henderson.
That theoretically left Henderson, the new yellow jersey, as Sky's man for general classification. But such a prediction was based on previous Tours of Britain, which have been largely controlled affairs.
When Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia) went clear on Black Mountain on Monday's stage in Wales it was Wiggins, not Henderson, who was able to follow.
While Albasini rode strongly to the stage win and yellow jersey, Wiggins dropped back to help Henderson in a fruitless chase.
After his second place in Glastonbury Wiggins admitted that had been an error. "We made the decision to wait for Greg on the Swansea stage, which maybe wasn't the best [decision]," said Wiggins. "Maybe I should've stayed as the GC rider, but that's the way the race has panned out.
"There should still be other opportunities for the team in the rest of the week," he said.
"Today I wanted to race. I thought it was the last stage I could do something on, because of the rolling roads. They're a bit flatter the next couple of days.
"But the race isn't over," said Wiggins. "The way they've been racing, everyone is so exhausted."