Vuelta a Espaņa - Wiggins: Race is ours to lose
Sat, 03 Sep 19:46:00 2011
After dropping nearest rival Vincenzo Nibali of Italy close to the summit of the Farrapona climb at the end of the 175.8-km 14th stage, the Briton now leads from compatriot and Sky team mate Chris Froome.
Dutchman Bauke Mollema, of the Rabobank team, is third at 36 seconds.
"The race is ours to lose," said Wiggins after a stage won by Cofidis rider Rein Taaramaee of Estonia.
"I'm feeling good, I felt strong on the climbs, it still hurts of course but everybody else is hurting as well." added the 31-year-old Londoner.
"We're another day closer now and tomorrow is another very hard stage. But we'll continue to fight all the way to the end and hopefully that'll be enough to win the red jersey."
Defending champion Nibali slid from second to seventh overall after losing one minute 21 seconds to the race leader on Saturday.
Wiggins repeatedly thanked his Sky colleagues for the support they had given him during the Vuelta.
"I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record but my team were great again," he said. "I wouldn't be in this position without them."
The biggest challenge left now for Wiggins is the 12.8-km Angliru. It is considered the toughest climb and the riders will tackle it at the end of Sunday's 142-km stage.
"It's extremely difficult but everybody will have to fight all the way there," he said.
"Gaining some time today is a big boost to my confidence and overall it should make things a little easier too."
Hlts Vuelta stage 24