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"The guys raced as a team, didn’t panic and that was the key today. We were able to chase down the gap and at the end of the day we’ve moved up the GC with Rigoberto and Sergio," sports director Marcus Ljungqvist says

Photo: Sirotti

BRADLEY WIGGINS

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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TEAM SKY

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12.05.2013 @ 20:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Having lost time in the rain on Friday, another torrential downpour and treacherous descents threatened to distance Bradley Wiggins even further in today's 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia. However, a hard chase by his teammates brought the Brit back to his key rivals and the Sky leader managed to save another dangerous day.

 

Prior to this year's Giro d'Italia pre-race favourite Bradley Wiggins was keen to point out that the Italian grand tour is much different to the Tour de France and a race much harder to control. 9 days into the race, those words have proved more trued than the Brit would have liked as a lumpy stage on Friday and technical terrain in yesterday's time trial had seen the Sky leader start today's stage only 4th in the overall standings at a time where everybody had expected him to be way ahead of his competitors.

 

Today he got another scare as destiny decided to spice an already hard stage up with a torrential downpour. Having already crashed in similar conditions two days ago the Brit did not want to risk anything and when he had safely negotiated the descent from the race's first category 1 climb he found himself more than a minute behind a group of favourites containing all the other GC riders.

 

After the controversies of Friday's stage, the Colombian duo of Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao were not called back to help their captain but the remainder of the mighty Sky team were all at the side of the reigning Tour de France champion. Up ahead BMC, Garmin, Astana and Vini Fantini all tried to exploit the situation and keep the Brit at bay but on the lower slopes of the day's penultimate climb the Sky leader was finally manage to bridge the last little gap on his own.

 

Having used up most of his domestique services he was now left to fight for himself on the remaining two climbs and subsequent descents and despite staying at the back of the group throughout the remainder of the stage, he managed to finish safely in the group with his main rivals to get through another dangerous day without any time loss. It was no surprise to see sports director Marcus Ljungvist express plenty of relief on a day where the breakdown of defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) even saw Henao and Uran move up in the GC.

 

"The stage worked out well in the end," he said. "The guys raced as a team, didn’t panic and that was the key today. We were able to chase down the gap and at the end of the day we’ve moved up the GC with Rigoberto and Sergio. We have to be happy with that after a hard stage like this."

 

Danny Pate was one of the riders who had to dig deep to bring the captain back on the flat stretch between the day's second and third climb and he put some word onto another extremely tough day in the Giro.

 

"It wasn’t super pleasant out there!” he said. “It wasn’t especially cold but it was definitely one of those medium stages that are challenging."

 

“It was pretty fast from the start. A couple of different groups formed and then finally we got the breakaway. It was quite big and having one guy in there (Juan Manuel Garate, ed.) who was only five minutes or so down, they never really let it go out very far. So the pace was pretty strong all day."

 

 

“The two big climbs in the middle were pretty hard too and then when it came time to bridge the gap we just stayed together. Any time you have to do a chase not panicking is one of the most key things. We just tried to bring our group back to the main group and we managed it right on the third category climb. We had Rigo and Sergio ahead and everyone else was behind helping Brad. Then after he got back on that was it, I was pretty much blown!”

 

Having endured 9 very hard stages in the south of Italy, the riders will take a well-deserved rest tomorrow. The American was happy to finally get a day off before the race hits the mountains with a very decisive stage on Tuesday.

 

“It’s nice to have tomorrow off," he said. It’s stage nine and it’s a good place to have the rest day. It’s nice that we didn’t have to start somewhere and get a rest day after stage three or something like that. So it will be nice to take the day tomorrow – and then we have a hard stage on Tuesday.”

 

Starting at 14.15 you can follow the riders battle it out in the mountains on CyclingQuotes.com/live

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