BATTERED and bruised after a tough opening week of the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins still believes he is in great form to make a push for the title.
The Briton lies fourth overall, 1:16 adrift of leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy who took the pink jersey after Saturday's the individual time trial.
Team Sky rider Wiggins was expected to claw back time on his rivals but finished second to compatriot Alex Dowsett with a display he labelled "disappointing".
Wiggins, who crashed on Friday and looked vulnerable on the descents in rainy weather, said he had not expected the Giro to be a walk in the park. "I never expected it to be as straightforward as the Tour last year," Wiggins said yesterday.
"Let's be honest, I descended like bit of a girl really after the crash," he said.
"Not to disrespect girls, but that's life and we have to push on and deal with the disappointments."
Most worrying for Wiggins is that Nibali is highly unlikely to just sit back on his lead and wait until the finish line in Brescia on May 26.
"He will continue to ride aggressively. I can't see him trying to defend 30 seconds from now until Brescia," Wiggins said.
Today's mountainous 10th stage to the Altopiano del Montasio could be a turning point.
"It will be one of the toughest finishes of this Giro, that's for sure," Wiggins warned.
"The race could tip upside down again."