Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) lost 49 seconds to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 37 second to Cadel Evans (BMC) on the steep climb to the finish at Altopiano del Montasio but after such a tough first nine stage in the Giro d'Italia, he insisted it had been a good day for both him and the team.
Wiggins descended quickly from the finish area to the Team Sky bus. He opted not to warm down on the rollers but after taking time to recover from his efforts, he emerged from the Team Sky bus to talk to a select group of media, including Cyclingnews.
"I'm pretty pleased actually," he said.
"As I said yesterday, I've got a bit of a cold and it's just enough to take the edge off you on a finish like that, you've got to be 100 per cent against Nibali and those guys. All in all we won the stage and I limited my losses on the toughest stage in this Giro."
"The tactic we set out with today was a good one; we aimed to put everyone in a bit of trouble on that first climb, which we did. It really whittled it down and it became a dog fight at the end."
"Riggy (Rigoberto Uran) won and we are right up there really. We still got two players to play with, we are half-way through now and like I said, that's one of the hardest finishes out of the way."
Wiggins fought hard to limit his losses on the steep, final part of the climb, when the gradient hit 20 per cent.
"When you get to that part at the end of a day like this one, it's always going to be man against man and I go into time trial mode."
Ready to work for Uran if necessary
Speaking in the stage winner's press conference, Uran was very careful to stay on message about leadership at Team Sky, pointing out that he is no Chris Froome. Wiggins was more open and admitted that he could be willing to work for Uran if he feels he definitely can't win the Giro d'Italia and Uran can.
Wiggins accepted that Nibali's two-minute advantage means the Italian is in a strong position.
"It looks like he has a good lead at the moment but it's never over. There's still a lot to play for," he said.
"If the win is perhaps a little bit beyond me now then I'm still fighting 100 per cent to finish on the podium, so that still remains the goal."
Would he be willing to help Urán win?
"Yeah, it depends how it plays out each day really," he admitted.
"I'll have to speak to Rigoberto tonight. He went all out for the stage. It's just whether he feels now he can go for that GC. There's a time trial. He's quite inconsistent like that; he can have a really good day, win a stage like today and then lose a few seconds tomorrow, so we'll have to see how he feels."
Before heading back on the bus Wiggins refuted a suggested that his chances of victory are over.
"It's never over is it? No, no," he said, seemingly back to where he hoped to be in this Giro d'Italia.
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