Bradley Wiggins struggles in return to racing at 2013 Tour of Poland

The 2013 Tour de France champ and Olympic ITT champ finishes more than nine minutes down

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (AFP) — Bradley Wiggins (Sky) struggled during the opening stage of the Tour of Poland on Saturday in his return to cycling after a two-month absence.

Wiggins finished a distant nine minutes and 13 seconds adrift of stage winner Diego Ulissi in what was his first competitive outing since mid-May, when he was forced out of the Giro d’Italia with a chest infection. He subsequently decided against a defense of his 2012 Tour de France title.

After being dropped on one of the climbs and laboring to a 58th-place finish, Wiggins announced he would not be taking part in next month’s Vuelta a España as he works his way back to fitness.

“I won’t do the Vuelta, that’s for sure,” said the Briton, who last year won the Tour and the Olympic individual time trial. “The world championships is what I’m aiming for. It’s just small steps at the moment. I’m just focused on the present, not thinking about next year.”