Bradley Wiggins out of Tour of Britain
Olympic and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins’ withdrawal from the Tour of Britain with a stomach bug yesterday has left the race without one of its main attractions.
Fans flocking to the 190 km route from Powys Castle in Welshpool to Caerphilly Castle in south Wales were left disappointed after Wiggins failed to start the sixth stage, which was won by Czech rider Leopold Koenig.
Wiggins’ fellow Briton Jonathan Tiernan-Locke grabbed the overall lead after finishing just behind Koenig. However, rather than cheering on those who crossed the line first, spectators were lamenting Wiggins’ absence.
“I’m sorry to have to pull out of the Tour,” Wiggins told his Team Sky website. “I’ve loved the last six days, meeting so many people around the country and enjoying those crowds along the roads. It has been a great experience, but this bug sadly means I’ll now miss the climax this weekend.
“I’m sorry I can’t continue and would like to thank all those fans, of all ages, for the support.”
Amateur rider Joel Bland, 18, from Lampeter, was one of thousands who had lined the streets and after learning about Wiggins’s withdrawal, he told the BBC: “I can’t believe that. That’s a shame.”
Devon’s Jonathan Tiernan-Locke seized the overall lead of the Tour with an aggressive ride on the Welsh stage.
Leopold Koenig (Team NetApp) claimed victory on the 189.8-kilometre route from Welshpool to Caerphilly and Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) finished second to assume the race leader’s gold jersey with two days of racing remaining.
The 27-year-old from Plymouth, who is rumoured to be joining Team Sky in 2013 and was named in the British team for next week’s road World Championships, began the day in sixth, 24 seconds behind Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge).
But now Tiernan-Locke, who received a six-second time bonus for placing second, has a 13-second lead over Howard ahead of today’s seventh stage from Barnstaple to Dartmouth. The eight-stage race concludes with tomorrow’s Surrey route from Reigate to Guildford.
Koenig belatedly helped to share the workload with Tiernan-Locke in the closing moments before sprinting away to victory by one second.
Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) won the sprint for third to move to third place overall, 18 seconds behind.
Luke Rowe (Team Sky) was fifth on the stage.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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