Skip to main content

Wiggins withdraws from Giro d'Italia

May 17, 2013 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
Seven-time Olympic medalist Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012.
Seven-time Olympic medalist Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • British cyclist Bradley Wiggins withdraws from the Giro d'Italia
  • Wiggins pulled out ahead of Friday's 13th stage with a chest infection
  • 2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal also withdraws through illness
  • Both will hope to be fit for the Tour de France, which starts on June 29

(CNN) -- For Briton Bradley Wiggins 2013 is fast becoming a year to forget.

If 2012 was his annus mirabilis -- he became his country's first Tour de France winner before going on to clinch gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games -- then this year is in danger of turning into Wiggins' annus horribilis.

Read: Blue Sky thinking delivers historic yellow for Sky

Earlier this month Wiggins discovered his teammate Chris Froome would be Team Sky's lead rider at next month's Tour de France, a decision that virtually deprives last year's winner of a realistic chance of defending the yellow jersey given a team's resources are harnessed to support their designated leader..

And now the seven-time Olympic medalist has been forced to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia -- a race which had become Wiggins' priority this season -- with a chest infection.

South African cyclist: Never give up
Cycling's Next Generation
Journalist's crusade to expose Armstrong

"We monitored Bradley overnight and this morning we've withdrawn him from the Giro after consulting the team doctor," said Team Sky team principal Dave Brailsford.

"His chest infection has been getting worse and our primary concern is always the health of our riders."

Read: Wiggins' victory brings Games to the people

Wiggins was bidding to become the first British winner of the Giro, but he was laboring in 13th place overall -- five minutes and 22 seconds behind leader Vincenzo Nibali -- when he withdrew before the start of Friday's 13th stage.

Along with the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain, the Giro is one of Europe's three major professional cycling stage races

The 33-year-old Wiggins wasn't the only high-profile rider to withdraw, with team Garmin-Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal out of the race after succumbing to illness.

Like Wiggins, having also shaped his season around the Giro, Hesjedal said he was "heartbroken" at having to pull out of the race he won in 2012.

Brailsford hopes to have the London-born Wiggins back on his bike as soon as possible

"Bradley will return to the United Kingdom for treatment and to rest and we hope to have him back on the road as soon as possible," continued Brailsford, who is also team principal of British Cycling.

"As a passionate racer he wanted to continue but he is simply unable to do so on medical grounds."

Once Wiggins is back in the saddle, attention will focus on his rivalry with Froome, who finished second at last year's Tour de France.

Their rivalry is not only being played out on the road but also on Twitter.

"Chris & Brad on the same start line, in the same kit? Mmmmmm... doubt it!" tweeted Froome's partner Michelle Cound, following it up with "To those claiming that this Wiggins/Froome thing is some sort of publicity stunt, you are wrong."

"I look forward to@TeamSky clearing up this mess (ASAP) #fedup ."

Cound and Wiggins' wife Catherine were embroiled in a spat during last year's Tour de France, when Cound was irked by her Kenyan-born partner playing a support role to Wiggins.

The 2013 Tour de France begins on the island of Corsica on June 29.

Meanwhile, Britain's other great cycling star, Mark Cavendish, claimed his fourth win of this year's Giro after Friday's 254km leg from Busseto to Cherasco.

The sprint specialist held off home rider Giacomo Nizzolo to strengthen his lead in the battle for the red points jersey.

Nibali and the other major contenders for overall honors finished safely in the main bunch.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
He admits to having a "f**k you" attitude, but Lance Armstrong insists he "never gets crap" following his long-awaited admission of long-term doping.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1017 GMT (1817 HKT)
CNN's Alex Thomas talks to CNN.com writer Matt Majendie about his interview with Lance Armstrong.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
He might have been best known for his acting career, but the late Robin Williams was a cycling fanatic.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1606 GMT (0006 HKT)
Whisper it quietly, but after years of foreign domination the prospect of a French winner of the Tour de France is more than just a mere pipe dream.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1947 GMT (0347 HKT)
Vincenzo Nibali became only the sixth man in history to win all three of cycling's major tours as he sealed victory in the 2014 Tour de France.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
Standing on the podium at London 2012, Joanna Rowsell achieved her greatest dream -- and gave hope to millions around the world.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2248 GMT (0648 HKT)
The Tour de France is arguably the world's toughest event -- but it's just got a whole lot tougher.
June 6, 2014 -- Updated 0025 GMT (0825 HKT)
The Great DIvide
The primary joy of a bicycle is that, in its purest form, it's little more than a highly efficient way of walking.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
David Kinjah njau and Davidson Kamau kihagi of Kenya in action during stage 2 of the 2007 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race.
David Kinjah won medal after medal -- but he also nurtured local Kenyan talent, like future Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Chris Froome and mentor David Kinjah
Winning the Tour de France may be one of sport's toughest challenges but Chris Froome believes today's cyclists have an equally arduous task.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
Dubbed "the fastest man on two wheels," Mark Cavendish is a formidable sprint cyclist.
ADVERTISEMENT