Sir Bradley Wiggins withdraws from Giro on medical grounds

Sky rider out of race with worsening chest infection; meanwhile, Cav reflects on 100th pro win

by Simon_MacMichael   May 16, 2013  

Bradley Wiggins on Giro 2013 Stage 10 (Pool-Trovati-LaPresse)

Sir Bradley Wiggins has withdrawn from this year's Giro d'Italia ahead of today's stage on medical grounds and will return to the UK to recover Team Sky announced this morning ahead of Stage 13 - the longest in the race. Also withdrawing thie morning is defending champion Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Sharp.

On Wedenesday Wiggins, the pre-race favourite, revealed that he had been ill since the start of the race but had decided to race in the hope that he would recover enough to sustain a serious challenge for the maglia rosa. Yesterday on another gruelling wet stage he lost further time on his GC rivals and was clearly struggling.

Last night Sky team principal, Dave Brailsford, said the team's medical staff would keep an eye on Wiggins overnight and make a decision in the morning. That decision has now been made.

 “We monitored Bradley overnight and this morning we’ve withdrawn him from the Giro after consulting the team doctor. His chest infection has been getting worse and our primary concern is always the health of our riders.

“Bradley will return to the UK today for treatment and to rest and we hope to have him back on the road as soon as possible.

“As a passionate racer he wanted to continue but he is simply unable to do so on medical grounds," Brailsford told the Team Sky website.

Last night reflecting on Wiggins’ travails on stage 12,  Brailsford, said: “Brad developed a head cold and a chest infection and has been on antibiotics."

“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," Brailsford continued.

“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.”

Wiggins himself was said to be determined to carry on, but now lay 13th overall, 5 minutes 22 seconds down on Nibali, ending his dreams of adding the maglia rosa to the maillot jaune he won in last year’s Tour de France.

“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," said Brailsford.

Most of Team Sky’s riders held back to try in vain on stage to Treviso to pace Wiggins back to the group containing the GC challengers, but with the sprinters’ teams also in that group and pushing on to try and reel in five breakaway riders, the chase was in vain.

In the maglia rosa group however was Sky’s Rigoberto Uran, who lay third overnight, 1 second ahead of Wiggins, and Brailsford made it clear that whether or not the Briton continues, it’s the Colombian who will now lead the team’s challenge.

“Rigoberto did a great job and 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,” he explained.

Also withdrawing from the Giro this morning is the Candian Hesjedal, who has been struggling since Saturday's time trial and lost more than 20 minutes on Turesday's Stage 10.

"It's heartbreaking," said the Garmin Sharp rider. "I want to be here for my team and for all the people who have supported me to get me here to this point. I built my entire season around the Giro and I came here feeling great, but I have been suffering since the TT.

"We're working on it, but we're not sure what's wrong.  There's a virus that's been going around, so it could be that, or severe allergies, or going too deep on the TT combined with both  – whatever it is, I'm only getting worse.

"Yesterday's stage was just too much for me,  I fought to get through it and I know everyone suffered but after seeing the medical staff last night, I also know that its time for me to go home, get some tests done and get healthy again."

Win number 100 for Mark Cavendish in Treviso (pic LaPresse/RCS Sport)

It was a happier day for Cavendish, whose Omega Pharma-Quick Step team worked hard to help reel in the breakaway, although they left it very late, the sprinter passing the quintet a couple of hundred metres shy of the line to move into treble figures.

Cavendish has said in the past that he’s not too bothered about statistics and leaves it to others to keep track of records, but he acknowledged there was something different about this one, which is also his third stage win of this year’s race and 13th Giro stage in total.

“Normally, these records are not so meaningful, but this one is special,” he said. “It isn’t easy to win 100 races. I’ve been looking forward to this one. It’s good to do it at the Giro, and it’s good to do it the way we did it, because my team mates rode out of their skin from the start of the stage to the finish. The guys were incredible, every single one of them, and that makes it even more special.”

“We came here wanting to win every sprint, and so far, we’ve done it convincingly, leading the peloton from start to finish,” he went on.

“Everyone worked to bring the breakaway back. Geert Steegmans was really controlled in the final part. In these difficult conditions, it is easy to get carried away too soon, but today our timing was perfect.”

The former world champion is aware that on a sprint stage, anything less than a win on his part is regarded by some as a failure.

“Today, if I do anything except win, it is regarded as losing,” he explained. “That’s how things have changed. I no longer win races, I lose them. That changes my perception of things and it changes my team’s perception of things. But I guess it’s part and parcel of success.”

37 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Quell surprise... Wiggins won't ride in support of anyone, the Tour is going to be fascinating stuff now, I predict the new Brailsford line to be "learning the importance of having a charge on 2 fronts from the Giro, anything could happen to the lead rider", Froome attacking early to force himself into leader status, much twitter nonsense from their WAGs and Wiggins dropping out in week two with an injury.

posted by Nick T [805 posts]
17th May 2013 - 9:22

like this
Like (6)

None of us really know what went down and if Wiggins will support anyone or not - now history. In the TdF I think it would be great to see Wiggins be the last man to lead Froome on the mountain stages in the Sky Train, Froome attacks (like he did at the Triento with Porte) and Wiggins maintains his tempo and saves for his 'attack' for the time trails. Very much Hare and Tortoise really (although I would not say Wiggins in a Tortoise!). Then they both work to their own strengths and the best man wins - would that be lovely! Of course if anyone else attacks then Froome needs to follow - but Wiggins maintains his own pace. Super! Wink

posted by doubledex [17 posts]
17th May 2013 - 9:43

like this
Like (7)

I think the Tour will be a test of what sort of person Froome is more than Wiggins.
This changes the dynamic and whether Froome likes it or not Wiggins is the team leader, Sky's top GC contender and has a palmares that Froome can only dream of so he he needs to accept that he has to support Wiggins now.
If he spits the dummy it will hamper his career.His time will come and he is still young and its all good experience. In my opinion.

posted by Some Fella [749 posts]
17th May 2013 - 10:28

like this
Like (4)

It will also be interesting to see if the rest of Sky will ride hard for Froome in the TdF. Some of the rider comments suggest that Froome's attack on Wiggins last year didn't go down well with them.

Michelle Cound v Cath Wiggins on Twitter will also be an interesting diversion!

posted by Sadly Biggins [264 posts]
17th May 2013 - 10:44

like this
Like (8)

Not sure Uk is the best place to recover, weather is better than the last few Giro stages, but not by much/ Surely there is somewhere warmer/sunnier that Sir Wiggo can go and cough up what ever is inhabiting his lungs?

skivandal's picture

posted by skivandal [9 posts]
17th May 2013 - 10:56

like this
Like (5)

SKY, with a few GC contenders; all gunning for the top prize at TdF - YES! Smile
Just the kind of racing we've all been waiting for! Devil Devil

The Chaplin's picture

posted by The Chaplin [34 posts]
17th May 2013 - 11:14

like this
Like (5)

Some Fella wrote:
Wiggins is the team leader, Sky's top GC contender and has a palmares that Froome can only dream of so he he needs to accept that he has to support Wiggins now.

Well, Fausto Coppi has a palmarés that Wiggins can only dream of but if I'm honest, I don't fancy his chances much this year either.

posted by Nick T [805 posts]
17th May 2013 - 11:36

like this
Like (5)

Agree with Nick T. Brad is the draw for Sky's marketing machine. IMO, I think Chris will be in support of Brad.

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [191 posts]
17th May 2013 - 12:15

like this
Like (6)

Nick T wrote:
Some Fella wrote:
Wiggins is the team leader, Sky's top GC contender and has a palmares that Froome can only dream of so he he needs to accept that he has to support Wiggins now.

Well, Fausto Coppi has a palmarés that Wiggins can only dream of but if I'm honest, I don't fancy his chances much this year either.


And if Froome had been given his freedom earlier in the Vuelta a couple of year back he'd have a grand tour on his palmares too. Instead he had to ride for Wiggins even when wearing the red jersey.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
17th May 2013 - 12:52

like this
Like (6)

I hope marketing thinks beyond the Sir Brad machine this year.
Compared to the 2012 Tour, this years Tour is too much of a monster for Wiggo imho.
I really hope Frommey gets the nod as hes more of a natural mountain goat. And love him or loath him, Bertie will be back this year and I cant see Wiggo being able to match him in the hills

posted by gareth2510 [136 posts]
17th May 2013 - 12:57

like this
Like (7)

Totally agree Mr Hatter

posted by gareth2510 [136 posts]
17th May 2013 - 12:59

like this
Like (8)

Descendus Girlitis Nerd

posted by Decster [246 posts]
17th May 2013 - 13:10

like this
Like (5)

I'm shocked........... Liar Liar Liar Liar

Quite a few riders have been ill this Giro, Cataldo battled through it, just to help Wiggo out. But Wiggo is a bit of a wimp, he could have sat off the back and taken it easy for a few stages and then recovered to help out Uran. But he's so self absorbed that he would only ever think about his chances.

HE IS NOT A TEAM PLAYER.

Tiralongo is another example. He was running a temp of 39 the other day, that's normally a hospital case, but now, he just took it easy and is now back on the front helping out Nibali.

I DONT want to see Wiggo at the TdF, he's bad for the team and moral. At least Froome knows how to be a DS and help the team out, Its his turn now

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
17th May 2013 - 13:16

like this
Like (6)

Gkam84 wrote:
I'm shocked........... Liar Liar Liar Liar

Quite a few riders have been ill this Giro, Cataldo battled through it, just to help Wiggo out. But Wiggo is a bit of a wimp, he could have sat off the back and taken it easy for a few stages and then recovered to help out Uran. But he's so self absorbed that he would only ever think about his chances.

HE IS NOT A TEAM PLAYER.

Tiralongo is another example. He was running a temp of 39 the other day, that's normally a hospital case, but now, he just took it easy and is now back on the front helping out Nibali.

I DONT want to see Wiggo at the TdF, he's bad for the team and moral. At least Froome knows how to be a DS and help the team out, Its his turn now

To be honest, if I was Sky, I wouldnt want my (really expensive) leader to be risking staying ill for longer than necessary, just to have the chance of being an extra domestique later in the race. Plus it would be further bad press for the team (focussing on Wiggo's struggles) when what they really want to do is refocus and continue on.

As to whether Wiggins is a genuine team player, who knows? He hasn't said he refuses to ride for Froome - he's said he wants to be leader and he'll do what the team tell him to.

By the way, I'm no massive Wiggo fan - I just think he's getting an unfair slating for dropping out of a race due to illness (which happens all the time).

posted by step-hent [675 posts]
17th May 2013 - 13:58

like this
Like (5)

Gkam84 wrote:
I'm shocked........... Liar Liar Liar Liar

Quite a few riders have been ill this Giro, Cataldo battled through it, just to help Wiggo out. But Wiggo is a bit of a wimp, he could have sat off the back and taken it easy for a few stages and then recovered to help out Uran. But he's so self absorbed that he would only ever think about his chances.

HE IS NOT A TEAM PLAYER.

Tiralongo is another example. He was running a temp of 39 the other day, that's normally a hospital case, but now, he just took it easy and is now back on the front helping out Nibali.

I DONT want to see Wiggo at the TdF, he's bad for the team and moral. At least Froome knows how to be a DS and help the team out, Its his turn now

He looked like a team player when he was leading out Cav on the Champs Elysee last year.

posted by sneakerfrfeak [67 posts]
17th May 2013 - 13:59

like this
Like (6)

Think it would be embarassing for Wiggo to lead the team at the TdF, just because you're going to get the inevitable moment when Nibali/Contador makes a surging attack, and only Chris can stay with them.

Look at it this way - last year's Vuelta looked a bit juiced to me, I reckon Froome was the best au naturale rider there. Repeat that scenario with the stronger doping controls in place in France and you've got your answer.

I like Wiggo, but throwing his toys around because he wants to be leader will not, I think, do anyone any favours (except maybe Contador etc).

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
17th May 2013 - 14:01

like this
Like (6)

GK has got his 'I'm not a fan of X' hat on again. Step-hunt has got it right, Sky pulled Brad and will refocus on the Tour. You can read all the politics into it you want, when that break happen this year, Froome will not be coming back. Multiple GC contenders will not be a problem for them just as they still have Uran in the Giro.

The road will tell the truth.


Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1253 posts]
17th May 2013 - 14:25

like this
Like (6)

I can't believe that he has a chest infection which would require the use of antibiotics. If you had a chest infection you'd be straight out the back of the peloton. I can believe that he has a cold which has affected his breathing, and there is no way you can compete with a cold. This sounds like a classic example of the widespread over prescription of antibiotics, which are only effective against bacteria. It is overwhelmingly likely that he has a virus. And I don't like Dave Brailsford's "he has been on antibiotics". Has he had time yet to complete a course? Did he start the Giro on antibiotics?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1339 posts]
17th May 2013 - 14:44

like this
Like (9)

What came first? The 'being off the pace when you've been talking up your form for months' bit or the illness bit? Thinking

posted by Yennings [211 posts]
17th May 2013 - 16:12

like this
Like (5)

I'm surprised at the comments on here. It makes perfect sense to pull Sir Sidechops if he can't keep up with the peloton. Hanging off the back is one thing, but being dropped on a flat is surely a sign things were less than optimal.

And let's also not forget that he is in a team. If they wanted him to continue because he is of some benefit to their Giro attempt he would be asked to keep going, if they feel it is of benefit to his preparations for the TdF of some other race they pull him.

I should say that there is also an issue where as a competitive racer he cannot give up on his chances of coming back ("I'll be better tomorrow") compromising those of his team. Better that he go now. Hejesdal has done the same thing now. He wasn't claiming a chest infection (but made some reference to some 'mystery' virus), but no one is levelling the same criticism for him abandoning the team.

I don't think Brad has a halo over his head, but I think people are letting their disappointment get in the way of appraising this sensibly. It does create more tension for the TdF.But if I was Sky, Froome remains the tour leader, but you appraise the events as they happen (what if Froome suffers a chest infection? Break a collar bone?). I'm sure Brad will take team orders and if he doesn't like it I hear RadioShack Leopard are looking for a GC contrender....

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1120 posts]
17th May 2013 - 16:40

like this
Like (7)

Froome for the TDF and Wiggins to target Vuelta would be the sensible choice but for Wiggins feeling he will have to defend his title. Shame as they could end up knocking heads - with Bertie benefitting - leaving both of them winning nothing.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1058 posts]
17th May 2013 - 20:28

like this
Like (7)

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Hejesdal has done the same thing now. He wasn't claiming a chest infection (but made some reference to some 'mystery' virus), but no one is levelling the same criticism for him abandoning the team.

The reason no-one is levelling criticism at Hejesdal is a fairly simple one to answer..

Hejesdal said he would give it a go, but didn't think he could win the Giro this year.

Where as Brad has been talking himself up for long enough about his chances of winning and how he was then going to defend his TdF.

If he's just kept his yap shut for a change, then I think some would be saying "awww poor Brad" and other stuff like that.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
17th May 2013 - 20:40

like this
Like (6)

Gkam84 wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Hejesdal has done the same thing now. He wasn't claiming a chest infection (but made some reference to some 'mystery' virus), but no one is levelling the same criticism for him abandoning the team.

The reason no-one is levelling criticism at Hejesdal is a fairly simple one to answer..

Hejesdal said he would give it a go, but didn't think he could win the Giro this year.

Where as Brad has been talking himself up for long enough about his chances of winning and how he was then going to defend his TdF.

If he's just kept his yap shut for a change, then I think some would be saying "awww poor Brad" and other stuff like that.


and in contrast this was Ryder when he knew his hopes had gone on wednesday - jersey full of bottles.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
17th May 2013 - 21:42

like this
Like (5)

Froomie vs Bertie

or

Wiggo vs Bertie

I know which one I want to see...

Mikeh789's picture

posted by Mikeh789 [139 posts]
17th May 2013 - 21:45

like this
Like (5)

Mikeh789 wrote:
Froomie vs Bertie

or

Wiggo vs Bertie

I know which one I want to see...

Me too! Go Bertie!

posted by mogrim [38 posts]
17th May 2013 - 22:29

like this
Like (3)

Sounds like we're revving up for 1986 all over again.

Bring it on......

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [267 posts]
17th May 2013 - 22:49

like this
Like (6)

TheHatter wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Hejesdal has done the same thing now. He wasn't claiming a chest infection (but made some reference to some 'mystery' virus), but no one is levelling the same criticism for him abandoning the team.

The reason no-one is levelling criticism at Hejesdal is a fairly simple one to answer..

Hejesdal said he would give it a go, but didn't think he could win the Giro this year.

Where as Brad has been talking himself up for long enough about his chances of winning and how he was then going to defend his TdF.

If he's just kept his yap shut for a change, then I think some would be saying "awww poor Brad" and other stuff like that.


and in contrast this was Ryder when he knew his hopes had gone on wednesday - jersey full of bottles.

Well no one in the Sky team would've got one on Thursday if he'd been on bottle duty.

I wouldn't think Brad could have known he would be ill before the race so you can't blame him for trying to meet expectations (he's won one tour, so he should be expecting to win another).

I don't think he's chucked it in because he's had one iffy day.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1120 posts]
17th May 2013 - 23:00

like this
Like (5)

Notfastenough - my thoughts exactly.

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [212 posts]
17th May 2013 - 23:17

like this
Like (7)

Nick T wrote:
Some Fella wrote:
Wiggins is the team leader, Sky's top GC contender and has a palmares that Froome can only dream of so he he needs to accept that he has to support Wiggins now.

Well, Fausto Coppi has a palmarés that Wiggins can only dream of but if I'm honest, I don't fancy his chances much this year either.

Ho ho ho ho ho... that made me nearly spit out my beer!

Big Grin

posted by edster99 [163 posts]
17th May 2013 - 23:38

like this
Like (7)

Nick T wrote:
Some Fella wrote:
Wiggins is the team leader, Sky's top GC contender and has a palmares that Froome can only dream of so he he needs to accept that he has to support Wiggins now.

Well, Fausto Coppi has a palmarés that Wiggins can only dream of but if I'm honest, I don't fancy his chances much this year either.

Tongue
There is still time for him to do something surely?
Sure he has been very quiet lately but .............

posted by Some Fella [749 posts]
18th May 2013 - 10:27

like this
Like (6)