Bradley Wiggins’ fourth place finish at the Tour de France last year led to high expectations — but the Team Sky rider has been unable to replicate his performance this year. On stage 15, he lost more time, but remained upbeat, even joking that he would refund British spectators their expenses for travel to France.
“There’s no point in beating around the bush. I just don’t have the form this year, for one reason or another,” Wiggins said. “We tried our hardest. We tried everything possible to be in the best possible shape. That’s sport. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. We haven’t got it right this year.”
On stage 15, Wiggins was dropped on the hors categorie Port de Balès climb, which had a consistent 7- to 11-percent pitch over the last 10km. He finished 48th, 9:35 back. He’s now 23rd overall.
“We’ll keep fighting on,” Wiggins said. “I promised my daughter two days ago that I would give it everything. I would give it my best. I’m going to keep that promise, go down fighting, and come back next year and try again.”
After getting popped from the pace on stage 14, Wiggins called his 2009 campaign “a fluke.”
On Monday, he clarified that statement.
“It was a fluke in that I was at a bar in Liverpool in January of 2009 not expecting to be even close to the podium at the Tour de France. And there I was at this time last year battling for a spot on the podium,” he said. “This year we did everything to try and do that, and it hasn’t worked. There’s always next year. We don’t have to wait four years for the next one. We’ll be back next year with a different program, and try again.”
After his great ride in 2009, Wiggins and his Team Sky entourage carefully analyzed the performance demands of the race and tried to replicate them in training.
“I just did a lot more specific (training) for the Tour this year — perhaps a bit too much in hindsight. But you don’t know until you get there,” he said.
Going forward, Wiggins has no intentions of throwing in the towel, and said he will continue to ride to his maximum.
“I’ll do the team honor. It’s been a fantastic team effort across the board all year. And of course the support on the road is incredible. You get the sense that you’ve let people down, but people don’t show that on the road at all,” said Wiggins.
Then, with a deadpan expression, Wiggins joked: “And I will be refunding everyone their travel expenses who’s been coming out to see me. Everyone can just send their invoices in to me,” he said. “No, no. I’ll just keep pushing on. It’s all I can do.”