Skip to main content

Wiggins withdraws from Giro d'Italia

updated 1:21 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
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.
  • 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"We monitored Bradley overnight and this morning we've withdrawn him from the Giro after consulting the team doctor," said Team Sky team principal Dave Brailsford.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.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
Engulfed by the darkness of doping's "white noise", he emerged the other side to become a beacon in cycling's anti-drugs fight.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 5, 2013
Triathlon has a reputation for being expensive. In fact, the perceived costs are enough to stop some from taking up the challenge.
updated 12:24 PM EDT, Mon July 1, 2013
It cost his newspaper a thumping $1.6 million in legal costs.
updated 12:05 PM EDT, Sat June 29, 2013
If the Tour de France founder Henri Desgrange could have transported himself forward to the 100th edition, he might have abandoned the idea altogether.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Sat June 22, 2013
Jan Ullrich, who won the 1997 Tour de France, admitted to doping for the first time in an interview with a German magazine.
updated 12:40 PM EDT, Fri August 24, 2012
Lance Armstrong during the 2005 Tour de France
Lance Armstrong is fighting to not only keep his seven Tour de France titles, but also his reputation as one of sport's most remarkable athletes.
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Wed October 10, 2012
armstrong us postal
Lance Armstrong was involved in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
updated 3:34 PM EDT, Thu October 11, 2012
Lance Armstrong has not yet faced a backlash from the brands that have backed him. CNN's Jim Boulden explains.
updated 9:54 PM EDT, Mon August 20, 2012
A federal judge dismissed the latest lawsuit filed by champion cyclist Lance Armstrong aimed at halting the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's case against him.
updated 8:01 PM EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
"Even if I could physically do it ... I wouldn't want to go onto another Games because this has been as good as it can get," says Olympic champion Chris Hoy.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
Adrien Niyonshuti is unlikely to win an Olympic medal, and he will do well to even finish his event, but his story is surely one of the most inspirational.
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
You're an Olympic champion and you've gone out at the top of your game -- so what next? Victoria Pendleton is considering work experience.
updated 5:45 AM EDT, Sat August 4, 2012
When Olympic officials cracked down on rogue merchandising, they couldn't have imagined the must-have accessory would be a pair of fake sideburns.
updated 2:04 PM EDT, Sun July 22, 2012
The 99th Tour de France took place over three weeks from June 30 to July 22. See the best pictures from the race here.
updated 6:11 AM EDT, Mon July 23, 2012
Bradley Wiggins makes history on the Champs Elysees as he becomes the first British rider to win cycling's Tour de France.