Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins lost valuable time after falling on a treacherously wet hairpin bend in the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia won by Australian Adam Hansen on Friday.
After hitting the deck close to home as the rain came down, Wiggins picked himself up to trail in 55th, 2.5 minutes behind Hansen, to slip to 23rd in the overall standings — 1 minute, 32 seconds behind new leader Benat Intxausti.
Wiggins, the Olympic time trial gold medalist, will be hoping to make up for time lost on the tricky undulating 177km run from San Silvo to Pescara in yesterday’s time trial.
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford reported the British star none the worse for his tumble.
“Bradley’s fine. There’s no physical injury,” he said. “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,” Brailsford added. “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.”
In the overall standings, pink-jersey holder Intxausti now leads by 5 seconds from Vincenzo Nibali, who like Wiggins also fell, with last year’s Giro winner, Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, 8 seconds back in third.
Hansen, who turned 32 yesterday, was clinching his first stage victory on a major tour since he turned professional in 2007.
“It was really tough, but I had an incredible feeling crossing the line,” he said. “I never thought I’d experience such a day as this. I’ve registered the best victory of my career, what a magnificent present to myself 24 hours before my birthday.”
Hansen, riding for the Lotto team, took command after forming part of a five-strong breakaway group that hit the front early on in the day’s run.
The Aussie and Emanuele Sella forged clear of the frontrunners near the Chieti climb 35km from the finish, with Hansen dropping the Italian to come home alone.
He took the stage with a 1:07 gap back to a group led by Italian Enrico Battaglin with another home hope, Danilo Di Luca, in third. Intxausti came in 14th at 1:07.
Yesterday’s eighth stage was a 54.8km race against the clock between Gabbice Mare and Saltara, with Wiggins desperate to make inroads after a trying first week.