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“I’m still up there but on paper first place has gone now. I can’t see myself getting 27 seconds on Kwiatkowski, but the podium is only 12 seconds away."

Photo: Sirotti

BRADLEY WIGGINS

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10.09.2014 @ 23:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bradley Wiggins went into the Tour of Britain as the defending champion and yesterday he was still optimistic that he would be able to win the race again. Having lost more time in today's stage, he now admits that he won't be able to take back his time losses in the final time trial.

 

Bradley Wiggins dropped one place to sixth overall at the Tour of Britain as the race split apart on the finale to stage four.

 

The steep ramp up Bridge Valley Road produced a thrilling finale in Bristol as numerous riders attacked in the final kilometres. Wiggins again dug deep to limit his losses and had support from both David Lopez and Ben Swift as he crossed the line in a group six seconds back on the day’s winner.

 

That man was Michal Kwiatkowski after the Pole timed his kick to perfection in the final metres, edging out Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano) and Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) to claim the victory and also the yellow jersey.

 

Time bonuses were enough to elevate Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) into a three-second race lead over Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) as the leader's garment changed hands for a third consecutive stage.

 

Wiggins now sits 27 seconds back, with team-mate Lopez still occupying the same time in seventh place. Swift was the first Team Sky rider across the line on the day in seventh but was just edged out of the points jersey by a relentless Kwiatkowski.

 

“I’m still up there but on paper first place has gone now,” Wiggins said. “I can’t see myself getting 27 seconds on Kwiatkowski, but the podium is only 12 seconds away.

 

“He only has to have a puncture in the time trial. I wouldn’t say the GC is over because finishing up there as the defending champion is important.”

 

“I was there then I got a bit swamped, I was still in 30th or 40th place coming into the corner. Coming up into the park, there was a TV motorbike, and there was a crash, I caught behind that, but I think I got the same group as Swifty. I haven’t got the acceleration to go with Kwiatkowski.

 

“It’s the way I am at the moment, I’m still lacking in that acceleration you get from racing.”

 

After the stage Swift described the finale and how a tight corner caused difficulties for the team.

 

"We knew a tough finish was coming and we knew there was a tight corner into the bottom of the final climb - as did everybody," he explained. "It was about trying to get into position as best as possible, but we were a bit too far back coming into it so had to make up a lot of places coming up the climb.

 

"I won the bunch sprint but there were a few guys off the front unfortunately. There are a few flatter finishes coming up which suits me and we’ll just keep chipping away."

 

Swift also thanked the UK crowds and the fantastic reception the race and Team Sky have received thus far.

 

"The crowd support is brilliant. It’s just great encouragement and to see this amount of people here at a bike race, on a week day, just shows how much the sport has grown."

 

"The team rode well but Bradley did lose a bit of time," sports director Nicolas Portal said. "It was a hard stage and a hard finish which was very fast in the last two kilometres. Everything is still possible and we have a good team around Bradley so we're still optimistic."

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