Stage 7 - San Salvo - Pescara - 177km
Published: 10 May 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Sir Bradley Wiggins' general classification hopes were hit after a late crash cost the Team Sky rider on a treacherous stage 7 of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The 33-year-old fell descending inside the final four-kilometres from San Salvo to Pescara - as weather conditions had worsened - recovering to finish over two minutes behind solo winner Adam Hensen and a minute and 38 seconds behind GC rivals Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali and Ryder Hesjedal.
The result places leaves Wiggins 23rd - one minute and 32 seconds behind new maglia rosa wearer Benatfurther Intxausti, and places extra significance on Saturday’s 55.5-kilometre individual time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara.
Mark Cavendish, with two stage wins to his name so far in this year's Giro, remains in the points classification red jersey.
The incident came on the third category climb of four, the Santa Maria de Criptis, as British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider Wiggins went down on a corner with the wet conditions causing havoc for a number of riders.
Wiggins was able to recover, coming home in the second group back behind victor Hensen, who had determinedly fought to be the sole survivor of early six-man break which went 30-kilometres into the stage.
“Bradley’s fine. There’s no physical injury,” Team Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford told teamsky.com.
“Ultimately when you have difficult conditions like these and hard racing this type of thing can happen. It’s the Giro.
“You can have good days and bad days and you have to wait until the end to tot them all up and see where you are. It’s a setback, but Brad’s still very much in the hunt. We’ve now got to take each day as it comes, focus on fully recovering tonight and hitting the time trial hard tomorrow. We’ll see where we are tomorrow night and take stock of the situation then.”
Brailsford also elaborated on the decision to send Urán and Henao back to wait for their team leader.
“It’s the team’s call,” he added. “They are here to ride for a leader. When you’re dedicated to a single leader that’s the call that the team made and that’s the right call as far as I’m concerned.
“You’ve got to take setbacks on the chin and you have to show character. That’s what it’s all about and you have to keep fighting right until the end and that’s what we’ll aim to do. There’s a long way to go.”
Wiggins had entered the day 34 seconds back on the maglia rosa but with four categorised climbs to navigate the potential for time to be gained, and lost, amongst the general classification contenders was high.
Before the day’s first attack, Tour de France champion Wiggins had been forced into an early bike change after a mechanical. Shortly afterwards the break came with Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel), Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco), Dominique Rollin (FDJ), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) in the group.
But as they tackled the opening two climbs - the Villamunga and Chieti-Pietragrossa – the escapees fractured with Sella and Hansen staying at the front with Ligthart, Tjallingii and Rollin a further minute behind.
As Hansen pulled away, the remainder of the maglia rosa group split with Nibali one of number of riders struggling with the deteriorating conditions, the Astana rider hitting the deck as he pushed on the descent to Pescara.
It was then that Wiggins suffered the same fate but was well shepherded to the finish by his Team Sky colleagues with no serious injuries suffered ahead of the Grand Tour's first of two individual time trials.
1. HANSEN Adam Lotto Belisol Team 04:35:49
2. BATTAGLIN Enrico Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox 01:07
3. DI LUCA Danilo Vini Fantini ,,
55. WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling 02.31
1. INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team 28:30:04
2. NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 00:05
3. HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin - Sharp 00:08
4. CARUSO Giampaolo Katusha Team 00:10
5. SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 00:13
6. EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team 00:16
7. GESINK Robert Blanco Pro Cycling Team 00:19
8. SANTAROMITA Ivan BMC Racing Team 00:28
9. WEENING Pieter Orica GreenEDGE 00:29
10. KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack - Leopard 00:34
23. WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling 1.32