Bradley Wiggins says the first rest day is overdue at the Tour de France after a “savage” and “brutal” opening week.
The race has thrown up an extraordinary amount of incidents including huge crashes, high-profile abandonments, and a one-man GC show from Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).
Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck–QuickStep) has also won two stages on his return to the Tour – moving him within two of the all-time record, a milestone he is reluctant to acknowledge – while the mountains created extra drama over the weekend.
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Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen) produced a statement ride to win Stage 9 by over five minutes and move second in the general classification, while Pogacar rode away from his main rivals to strengthen his hold on yellow.
The latest episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show saw the 2012 Tour champion reflect on a hectic opening week.
“I think everyone needs a rest. It feels like we’ve done three weeks of the Tour, it’s been savage,” said Wiggins.
“I don’t remember a Tour like it for a long time. It’s been a brutal Tour de France.”
He added: “To think it’s only one week we’ve done. We’ve got two weeks left of the race and the field is decimated. It’s absolutely decimated.”
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Wiggins backed Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) to bounce back from the disappointment of seeing his GC hopes evaporate and challenge for a stage win. The Welshman is 39’42” back in GC after a horrible outing on Stage 8 that also saw Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) suffer and later withdraw.
“I don’t think this race is over for G yet,” said Wiggins.
“It is for GC definitely, it would be nice to see Ineos spread their numbers a bit and let G go up the road.
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“He is capable of doing something like Ben O’Connor did and that is something you’re not used to seeing from a Team Sky or Ineos point of view. It would be lovely to see that.”
Wiggins was also delighted to see Cavendish scrape under the cut-off limit. The Manx Missile will feature in the second week after coming home on Sunday with just 97 seconds to spare.
"I saw him getting dropped on the first climb, and he had three or four team-mates around him," said Wiggins.
"It shows the difference that a team makes to you, committed to a cause and committed to Mark as well.
"And it shows he was lacking on the team front a couple of years ago, and he's back in his rightful place."
Cavendish in tears after crossing the line just in time
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