Team Sky plays down talk of a Colombian conspiracy within team

Team Sky has denied reports of a possible Colombian conspiracy inside the team after Bradley Wiggins was left isolated in the finale of stage four of the Giro d'Italia and lost 17 precious seconds to his overall rivals.

Today's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper speculates that both Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao rode their own race perhaps because both are considering leaving Team Sky at the end of the season.

Cyclingnews understands that Henao could stay with the British team beyond 2013 but Uran will almost certainly leave. His seventh place in the 2012 Giro d'Italia and his haul of UCI points make the 25 year-old Colombian a prime target for teams looking to secure their place in the UCI WorldTour and for a future Grand Tour leader.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step is in currently in pole position to sign Uran with four other teams also interested, including Astana.

Team Sky has a plethora of leaders with Wiggins, Froome and Porte, who has agreed to stay with the team until 2015. That leaves little room for the Colombian riders.

However Team Sky has insisted that Uran and Henao did not ride for themselves on the stage but followed team orders that had been decided before the start of the stage. Head coach Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews at the start of stage five that both Uran and Henao were told to contest the sprint to try and take away the 20, 12 and 8 second time bonuses from Wiggins' rivals.

On stage three, Cadel Evans (BMC) won the sprint for second place and took a 12-secobnd time bonus, with Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) finishing third, and so picking up eight seconds.

Wiggins lost time on stage four because he was not near the front of the peloton, with Evans, Nibali and Hesjedal, and was caught behind a split in the peloton after a late crash.

Team Sky looked to minimise the 17-second loss. However it was more than the 14 seconds Team Sky gained on key rival Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team in the team time trial. Gazzetta dello Sport pointed out the importance of every second in stage racing. Last year Joaquim Rodriguez lost the Giro d'Italia to Hesjedal by just 16 seconds.

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