Uran Uran unleashed
It’s amazing the difference a double-D can make. I’m not being lecherous; I’m referring to woeful 80s posers Duran Duran. They were rubbish, but Team Sky’s Uran Uran is very good. He won stage 10 and leapt into third place in the general classification in the process after finishing 30 seconds ahead of the leaders and gaining a 20 second bonification to boot.
Will Uran be Sky’s official team leader now? Possibly, but who honestly cares? Whatever his official status, there’s no way he’ll be asked to drop back to help Wiggins who lost another 30-odd seconds and remains in fourth.
Vincenzo Nibali increasingly looks the strongest rider and Cadel Evans increasingly looks the best of the rest, but most importantly of all, we finally got to see Domenico Pozzovivo do something. Our Domenico struck out ahead of the main riders on the final climb, fully justifying my daily references, before slipping back to them again. He looked good though. Hopefully there’ll be more of this.
In truth, his team-mate Carlos Betancur timed his effort better, finishing second, just as he did on stage nine. On Sunday, he celebrated as if he’d won, because he thought he had. Today he knew.
Wiggins is off the pace. You can lose time because of tactics, misfortune or a bad day, but today’s shortcomings surely herald little but more of the same. That’s the way Grand Tours work: however bad it is today, it’s always going to be a little worse tomorrow. Look at Ryder Hesjedal. Or at least try to. You probably missed him because he finished 21 minutes down today.
Wiggins doesn’t seem that bad, but the problem with being slightly off the pace is that it sentences you to a long, drawn-out purgatory where you lose by increments. If you’re fully shit, you have the luxury of getting all your losing out of the way in one great definitive hammer blow of spectacular failure. Wiggins, by contrast, retains very slim hopes of winning the Giro. This basically commits him to a fortnight of excruciating pain ‘just in case’.
It’s very hard to find motivation when you’re riding ‘just in case’.