Sir Dave Brailsford has confirmed that a deteriorating illness for Sir Bradley Wiggins was the reason behind further time loss for the Brit at the Giro d’Italia.
The Tour de France winner visibly struggled on stage 12 in the pouring rain between Longarone and Treviso and slipped off the back of the peloton as the pace increased during the finale.
Speaking after the stage, the Team Sky Team Principal reflected on a tough day and detailed the illness which has made life so difficult for the 33-year-old.
“Brad developed a head cold and a chest infection and has been on antibiotics,” he confirmed. “His illness has got progressively worse and we knew ahead of the race this morning it was going to be tough for him to get through the stage.
“When you see a rider of Bradley Wiggins’ calibre struggling to hold the wheel in front of him on the flat you know that he’s ill. When you’re ill you’re ill and all you can do is your best to try and manage that illness. I think he showed great courage to battle through the stage to the finish.”
With Wiggins dropping back to 13th overall on the general classification, five minutes and 22 seconds back on the maglia rosa of Vincenzo Nibali, Brailsford reiterated that the team would monitor the rider’s illness before making any further decision about his participation.
“Now we’ll get back to the hotel and the team doctor will assess him overnight and then we’ll take a decision about whether Brad continues, health-permitting, in the morning. It’s a testament to Brad that he has said he wants to continue in the race and carry on to Brescia with the team.”
Despite a difficult few days for Wiggins the team still sit in a strong position at the first Grand Tour of the season.
With two stage wins already in the books the team continue into the second week with Rigoberto Urán maintaining a strong third place overall, 2:04 back on Nibali.
With the Colombian comfortable in difficult conditions on Thursday, Brailsford added: “Rigoberto did a great job retained his third position overall. He’s looked very strong this race and we’ll now do everything to support him in the race for the general classification.”
The Giro continues on Friday with the longest stage of the race, a 254km test from Busseto to Cherasco.