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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Saturday, 8 May 2010 16:49 UK

Sky's Bradley Wiggins wins Giro d'Italia opening stage

Wiggins on the podium
Wiggins is taking part in his first major race since joining Team Sky

Bradley Wiggins laid down the gauntlet for the Giro d'Italia by winning the opening time trial in Amsterdam to take the leader's pink jersey.

Wiggins completed the 8.4km stage in 10 min 18 seconds, two seconds faster than early leader Brent Bookwalter and world road race champion Cadel Evans.

Wiggins is in his first major stage race since joining Team Sky.

But he is not expected to win the three-week event overall, as his sights are set on the Tour de France in July.

The three-time Olympic champion becomes just the second Briton to lead the Giro, the first Grand Tour of the year, after Mark Cavendish won the pink jersey in 2009.

I have no idea if I can be in a position [to win] in three weeks

Bradley Wiggins

Fellow Brit David Millar, Wiggins former team-mate at Garmin-Transitions, finished sixth, six seconds behind.

Wiggins' winning momentum started with an early charge from the start ramp and he maintained his blistering pace through the circuit's tight turns and long straights.

"I knew I had a good chance," Wiggins said. "For me it's beautiful to wear the pink jersey. It's one of the most special jerseys. To wear this is a big honour."

"This is an iconic jersey and it means a lot to me. To take it in such style in Amsterdam is even more special."

Other candidates for overall victory on the Giro, which finishes with an individual time trial in Verona on May 30, lost valuable time on race favourite Evans in a stage raced in front of huge crowds.

It's quite a moment in the history and development of the team

Sky's team principal Dave Brailsford

Italian Ivan Basso was 21 sec off the Australian, with Spain's Carlos Sastre a further 2 sec adrift.

Sprinter Greg Henderson marked Team Sky's Grand Tour debut by finishing fifth while Dario Cioni underlined his good form with a top-20 placing.

The race spends two more days in the Netherlands - a country it is visiting for the second time - before moving to Italy.

Wiggins, who has targeted a top Tour de France performance as the main goal of his season, played down his chances of overall Giro victory, saying: "You never know. I don't really know what I can do, it's difficult to say.

"I prefer to take the race a day at a time. I have no idea if I can be in a position [to win] in three weeks.

"In January, we said that the Giro would be the main goal for Dario Cioni.

"I told him that I'd go for the time trial and will seek to keep the jersey as long as possible. And after, I'll be there for him."

Sky's team principal Dave Brailsford added: "It's absolutely brilliant day for us in terms of the whole team."

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"We won the first ever race that we rode and now the first time we've competed in a Grand Tour, we've got the jersey. It's quite a moment in the history and development of the team."

"Bradley absolutely committed 100% and technically he rode it very, very well. It was terrific. I think it was in the corners where he really made the difference and came out a deserved winner."

Sky's nine-man squad includes British pair Steve Cummings and Chris Froome, Canadian Michael Barry, Italian Morris Possoni and Australian duo Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton.

And there are four more Brits in other teams - veteran Scot Millar, Dan Lloyd with Cervelo Test Team and Omega Pharma-Lotto team-mates Adam Blythe and Charlie Wegelius.

Meanwhile, Manx sprinter Cavendish and veteran star Lance Armstrong have opted to miss the Giro and will instead ride at the Tour of California next week.

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BBC Sport went behind the scenes with Team Sky as they competed at the recent Vuelta a Andalucia in Spain.

Giro d'Italia stage one results and overall standings:

1. Bradley Wiggins, GB, Sky, 10 min 18 sec

2. Brent Bookwalter, US, BMC, + 2 sec

3. Cadel Evans, Aus, BMC, same time

4. Alexandre Vinokourov, Kaz, Astana, +5 sec

5. Greg Henderson, NZ, Sky, same time

6. David Millar, GB, Garmin, +6 sec

7. Gustav Erik Larsson, Swe, Saxo Bank, +7 sec

8. Jos Van Emden, Ned, Rabobank, +9 sec

9. Marco Pinotti, Ita, HTC-Columbia, same time

10. Vincenzo Nibali, Italy, Liquigas-Doimo, +10 sec



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see also
Wiggins targets Giro opening week
07 May 10 |  Cycling
Wiggins to lead Team Sky at Giro
29 Apr 10 |  Cycling
Wiggins opts to miss World Champs
23 Apr 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish withdrawn after V-sign
30 Apr 10 |  Cycling
Illness hits Armstrong Tour plans
07 Apr 10 |  Cycling
On the road with Team Sky
18 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Australian Evans joins BMC Racing
02 Nov 09 |  Cycling


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