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Wiggins extends Dauphine lead with TT win

Brit solidifies lead in tune-up for the Tour de France

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BOURG EN BRESSE, France (AFP) — Bradley Wiggins (Sky) extended his overall lead at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Thursday, winning the stage 4 time trial in Bourg en Bresse.

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was second, at 34 seconds, with Michael Rogers (Sky) third.

The Dauphiné is Martin’s biggest race since he returned last month from multiple fractures suffered in a collision with a car in April.

“Today I had no super legs,” said Martin. “It took a while to get into the rhythm of the race. At the beginning I wasn’t really concentrated, but I got better. I know when and why I lost, so it is OK for me. Bradley did a great race. As for me, maybe today I was a little bit tired. I did a lot of training for the Tour of Belgium, and a lot of training after the race to prepare for the Tour de France.”

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) entered the day one second behind Wiggins on GC and lost nearly two minutes over 53.5km.

“It was perfect for me, the course suited my style really well,” said Wiggins, who caught sight of his two-minute man, Evans during his winning run on the course. “When I saw Cadel in front of me, I didn’t give it a second thought. I was just concentrating on my ride.”

Evans had hoped to go better in the individual test, which is the same length as the penultimate-stage TT at next month’s Tour de France.

“I expected to do better; I’m a bit disappointed,” said Evans. “The specialists like Martin and Wiggins rode really fast. Now I have to go back and have a closer look at things. I still have improvements to make before the Tour de France.”

For another possible Tour contender, Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), it was a disastrous day in the saddle. Already under pressure from his team manager Johan Bruyneel to show his yellow jersey credentials after a mediocre season so far, a strong gust of wind caught the lightweight Luxembourger and his bike in a corner and dumped them at the side of the road.

Schleck lost more than 10 minutes to Wiggins while trying to get back into time trial position to finish the race, and later complained of a sore hand and wrist.

“I changed bikes and managed to finish, but honestly, I lost everything — my head as well as the momentum I had going, I couldn’t get back into an aerodynamic position,” said Schleck. “It was a tough day and tomorrow I’m sure I won’t be back to my best. But then again, I can’t work miracles. I feel I’m getting better day-by-day and I’m confident for the longer term.”

Race results >>

Editor’s Note: Keep your browser pointed to VeloNews.com for more from stage 4 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.