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Team Sky rider puts in second quickest time and leaves GC rivals standing

Tony Martin won the stage, but Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins is the new leader of the Criterium du Dauphiné after putting in a fantastic ride to finish second in  today’s individual time trial in Grenoble on the same course that will be used next month in the penultimate stage of the Tour de France. On a great day for Team Sky, Edvald Boasson Hagen was third, and Geraint Thomas finished seventh, the Welshman moving to sixth on the GC.

Wiggins, who had started the day 11 seconds behind Astana's Alexander Vinokourov in the overall standings, completed the 42.5km course in 55 minutes 38 seconds and now lies 1 miniute 11 seconds ahead of BMC Racing's Cadel Evans, with defending champion Janez Brajkovic of RadioShack a further 10 seconds back in third.

The Team Sky rider's time was bettered only by the German HTC-Highroad rider, who went 11 seconds quicker but had started the day ten and a half minutes down in the overall standings. Until Wiggins, third but last man out on the course, put in his time, only Boasson Hagen had succeeded in getting within a minute of Martin's time, and even then the Norwegian was 43 seconds slower.

Rain made conditions very slippery on the higher parts of the parcours above Grenoble, the capital of the Isere department and, historically, the Dauphiné region itself. Wiggins was not alone on taking the descent back down into the city, where the roads were dry, very gingerly, but he'd already done enough to ensure that he'd be wearing the race leader's jersey tonight.

Team Sky did a great job of defending Wiggins' third place in Paris-Nice back in March this year, and with a cushion of more than a minute over his closest rival, the onus is on Evans, winner of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico, and others with their eyes on the overall win, to attack.

That's unlikely to happen tomorrow, however. The 173.5km Stage 4 from La Motte Servolex to Mâcon may feature a Category 2 climb early on as well as two Category 4 ascents, but with the final 65km heading downhill it should be the one day of this year's race that will see the sprinters battle it out for the win.

The three stages after that all feature summit finishes and there are bound to be plenty of attacks on those ahead of the race finishing on Sunday. Should Team Sky succeed in defending Wiggins' lead, it will be their biggest race win in the 18 months since they arrived in the peloton, as well as the three-time Olympic gold medallist's biggest success off the track, and one that will bode well ahead of next month's Tour de France.

Criterium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Result 
1  MARTIN Tony              HTC - HIGHROAD            55' 27"
2  WIGGINS Bradley          SKY PROCYCLING          + 00' 11"
3  HAGEN Edvald Boasson     SKY PROCYCLING          + 00' 43"
4  ZABRISKIE David          GARMIN - CERVELO        + 00' 58"
5  BRAJKOVIC Janez          RADIOSHACK              + 01' 17"
6  EVANS Cadel              BMC RACING              + 01' 20"
7  THOMAS Geraint           SKY PROCYCLING          + 01' 36"
8  RIBLON Christophe        AG2R LA MONDIALE        + 01' 37"
9  TAARAMAE Rein            COFIDIS                 + 01' 56"
10 COSTA Rui                MOVISTAR                + 02' 00"
11 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin      HTC - HIGHROAD          + 02' 02"
12 MALORI Adriano           LAMPRE - ISD            + 02' 04"
13 COPPEL Jérôme            SAUR-SOJASUN            + 02' 08"
14 VINOKOUROV Alexandre     ASTANA                  + 02' 18"
15 HERMANS Ben              RADIOSHACK              + 02' 26"
16 ROY Jérémy               FDJ                     + 02' 38"
17 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen    OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO    + 02' 39"
18 URAN Rigoberto           SKY PROCYCLING          + 02' 41"
19 KOREN Kristjan           LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE     + 02' 43"
20 KADRI Blel               AG2R LA MONDIALE + 02' 43"

Criterium du Dauphiné Overall Standings after Stage 3 
1  WIGGINS Bradley          SKY PROCYCLING         8h 41' 37"
2  EVANS Cadel              BMC RACING              + 01' 11"
3  BRAJKOVIC Janez          RADIOSHACK              + 01' 21"
4  VINOKOUROV Alexandre     ASTANA                  + 01' 56"
5  COSTA Rui                MOVISTAR                + 02' 12"
6  THOMAS Geraint           SKY PROCYCLING          + 02' 25"
7  VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen    OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO    + 02' 28"
8  RIBLON Christophe        AG2R LA MONDIALE        + 02' 45"
9  HERMANS Ben	            RADIOSHACK	            + 02' 46"
10 COPPEL Jérôme	    SAUR-SOJASUN	    + 02' 52"

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

8 comments

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 5 years ago
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He was not a happy bunny at the end apparently. Any idea why? Seemed like the rain came towards the end and could have cost him the 10 seconds

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Simon_MacMichael [2456 posts] 5 years ago
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Didn't see that, but I wonder if it was to do with the conversation he seemed to be having with the team car before the downhill section. Seemed quite animated, wonder if they were telling him to go for it and he decided on caution? All will be revealed I imagine.

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dave atkinson [6224 posts] 5 years ago
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It was wet for everyone over the hill, Wiggo took plenty of care on the way down but Martin wasn't flying down either. Bradley did seem to be telling his team car to shut up already with the chat on the descent  1

Wiggo didn't need to win the stage, so I think his approach was the right one. After all, he's in yellow, not in a ditch...

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 5 years ago
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dave_atkinson wrote:

It was wet for everyone over the hill, Wiggo took plenty of care on the way down but Martin wasn't flying down either. Bradley did seem to be telling his team car to shut up already with the chat on the descent  1

Wiggo didn't need to win the stage, so I think his approach was the right one. After all, he's in yellow, not in a ditch...

Bearing in mind he put over 2 mins into Vino it was the right call. He probably didn't know that at the time though. Will be interesting to see how much Sky put into defending yellow with the Tour 3 weeks away. They've rode hard the last 2 days with the split yesterday and 4 men in the top 20 today. After a flat stage tomorrow it gets quite lumpy!

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
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Without a dose of uncle blood inside him, Vino isn't so quick, is he?

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handlebarcam [680 posts] 5 years ago
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I'm not a particular fan of Wiggins, but any day that sees Vinokourov drop out of the lead of a race is a good one, in my book.

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msw [113 posts] 5 years ago
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Sky seem to be coming good all of a sudden don't they? Causing me fantasy team dilemmas too as I want Uran in for the hills but that means dropping Wiggins or Thomas...

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cavasta [216 posts] 5 years ago
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arrieredupeleton wrote:

He was not a happy bunny at the end apparently. Any idea why? Seemed like the rain came towards the end and could have cost him the 10 seconds

From the Team Sky website:
"That final descent came on one of the wettest parts of the course on a mixed day of weather and Wiggins added: "It didn't feel that slippery but you don't know until you push it and I wasn't prepared to take that risk today. It was such a short descent too that it wasn't as if I was going to lose buckets of time so I played it safe and had Sean [Yates, Team Sky's Sports Director] in my ear telling me not to take any big risks.
"Wiggins also revealed that Yates' feedback was vitally important throughout the route, explaining: "I was telling Sean to keep talking to me because we did the lap in the car this morning and I wasn't 100% sure whether there was anything tricky on that last descent so I was telling him to keep giving me the info about which corners you could take full gas and so on."