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Suisse implosion: Wiggins’ Tour hopes fade, Schlecks continue to struggle

Bradley Wiggins and the Schleck brothers struggled in Monday's third stage at the Tour de Suisse, casting doubt on their respective Tour hopes

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The Tour de Suisse is proving costly to Tour de France ambitions for more than a few big names.

Bradley Wiggins, who was on the bubble, at best, to earn a spot for Team Sky’s nine-man Tour team, ceded more than two minutes in Monday’s challenging finale won by Peter Sagan (Cannondale), all but ending his GC hopes, and most likely his Tour hopes as well.

Trek Factory Racing’s Schleck brothers also continue to struggle. Frank Schleck, who crashed heavily in Sunday’s mountain stage, suffered a concussion and did not start Monday, while Andy Schleck also lost time in the finale to give up 1:29.

The younger of the Schleck brothers remains unable to rediscover his winning legs ever since his crash in the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné two years ago.

“Today was a long day … in the end, I did not feel good. I didn’t have the legs any more to try anything in the last 10km,” Schleck said on the team’s website. “It was going hard with 50km to go, and then in the last 3-5km, FDJ was going full gas, and everything exploded with two kilometers to go.”

Frank, meanwhile, suffered from a concussion, and could not continue. It’s not yet known how much time he would miss, and so far, Trek has not released its long list for the Tour. After so many struggles, including his one-year ban, there is no guarantee that either of the Schleck brothers will start the Tour.

Things were equally bleak for Wiggins, who was hanging off the back of the peloton in a technical, tricky final hour of racing, and then missed the splits as the race speed ramped up.

“It was unfortunate the Bradley lost time and he’s out of the general classification hunt now. The road was really twisty at the end and the fact he was at the back of the peloton meant he was on the wrong side of the late splits,” said Sky director Dan Frost on the team’s website. “It would have been nice to have him there, but now he can focus on the time trial on Friday whilst helping the other guys as much as possible.”

Wiggins created a buzz two weeks ago when he told L’Equipe that he already was told he was not going to race the Tour this year, but team boss Dave Brailsford insisted that was not the case.

A strong ride during this week’s Swiss tour would have bolstered Wiggins’ chances to make Sky’s Tour team, but Monday’s time losses all but ended his GC hopes. It’s likely he will instead focus on the Commonwealth Games in late July, on the road, and potentially the track as well.

The Swiss tour continues Tuesday and Wednesday with two stages well suited for sprinters.

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