Tour of Britain: Sir Bradley Wiggins pays tribute to team-mates after surviving tough day

 

If he didn't appreciate the value of teamwork already, then a day spent repelling numerous attacks in the Brecon Beacons was enough to ram it home. Sir Bradley Wiggins paid tribute to his Team Sky colleagues last night after he retained his lead in the Tour of Britain today on a gruelling stage five that pushed the 2012 Tour de France winner to his limits.

When rising star Nairo Quintana and Birmingham-born Irishman Dan Martin had led by more than a minute with less than 20 kilometres to go, it seemed as though Wiggins' exertions in Tuesday's time trial may have been in vain.

But the joint efforts of Sky's Spanish workhorse David Lopez and second-placed compatriot Tim Stannard gradually pulled them back during the run-in to the finish in Caerphilly, reducing the gap to just nine seconds with 10km remaining and eventually achieved parity 2.5km from home.

From then on it was left to the sprinters to battle it out, with Ireland's Sam Bennett outclassing Michal Golas and Martin Elmiger to cross the finish line first.

"I knew the route today because I rode it last week and I knew it was going to be the queen stage of the race," said Wiggins, who maintained his 37-second lead over Stannard.

"I keep saying it but you're nothing without your team and the boys rode all day once again to control the race. In the end I used David Lopez and Ian for as long as possible, right to the last kilometre, and they left me with nothing to do but sit there until the end."

Wiggins added: "I don't have the accelerations on the climbs that Dan [Martin] and Nairo Quintana have, but I just time trial because I know how to pace my effort and it works – I won the Tour de France like that."

Having endured a frustrating year where he withdrew from the Giro D'Italia with illness and was then denied the opportunity to defend his Tour de France title, Wiggins remains on course to become only the second home winner of the Tour of Britain since it was reincarnated in 2004 after Jonathan Tiernan-Locke last year.

Now with the World Championships to come in Florence next week, the four-time Olympic gold medallist claimed he is closing in on his peak condition."It's been a long road to get back to the level I'm at now, but I've worked hard for a good 20 weeks to be in this condition and this is what it's all about," he said.

"We'll take it as another day tomorrow and we won't be underestimating anyone. We lost Alex Dowsett from the general classification battle today, so that's another one down, and we'll keep plugging away as we aim to stay in control of this jersey."

Stannard remains second in the standings and leads Switzerland's Elmiger by six seconds going into today's 137.5km (85 miles) stage through Devon that culminates at Haytor on Dartmoor.

Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003