Having finished fifth at the Giro del Trentino, Bradley Wiggins used his time in Italy to recce the uphill time trial to be used in next month’s Giro d’Italia.
The Tour de France champion used the mountainous Giro del Trentino as his final competitive outing before the first Grand Tour of the year, which starts on Saturday May 4, but a badly-timed mechanical on the final stage saw Wiggins lose valuable time to eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
Nibali, who finished third behind Team Sky duo Wiggins and Chris Froome at last year’s Tour de France, will be one of the Wiggins’ key rivals at the Giro d’Italia.
Wiggins won both time trials en-route to Tour victory and, with two individual time trials and a team time trial on the Giro parcours, the 32-year-old will start the Italian Grand Tour as favourite.
The final time trial, stage 18 of the race, is a cronoscalata which rises for 19km in the hills east of Lake Garda. With an average gradient of five per cent, it’s an uphill time trial which looks suited to specialists like Wiggins.
“I like this stage, it’s quite fast, it fits me well,” said Wiggins having ridden the stage.
The stage is followed by back-to-back summit finishes in the Dolomites, the first crossing the Passo Gavia and Passo dello Stelvio before the final 22km to Val Martello, while stage 20 tackles three opening climbs, including the Passo Giau, before finishing on the Tre Cime de Lavaredo.
Wiggins recced that stage last week, ahead of the Giro del Trentino, but snow on the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, which rises to 2,304m, forced the Team Sky rider to stop six kilometres short of the summit.
“I didn’t see the hardest part of the Tre Cime, which is the last part, but it was still a useful recon,” said Wiggins. “I’d never tried it before and it’s beautiful, a breathtaking view. If you come here with bad legs, it’s really going to hurt.”