Bradley Wiggins made a triumphant return to the motorbike at the Giro d’Italia, with the 2012 Tour de France champion immediately digging into the troubles of overall leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo).
Lopez has defended the pink jersey with gusto since taking it atop Etna on Stage 4, but looked to be flagging at the back of the peloton during the early running on Stage 12.
With the stage profile from Parma to Genova favouring a breakaway and Lopez having the power to dictate who would be allowed to attack, his presence at the back of the bunch was a surprise.
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"I’m just at the back of the peloton," boomed Wiggins in the latest Brad on a Bike. "Juan Pedro Lopez, the maglia rosa, he’s been hovering quite close to the back.
"He’s been in the last three-four riders the whole way down this valley road we’re in. He’s sort of isolated himself at the back of the peloton. No team-mates around him.
"It’s not great really when the break is trying to form. The maglia rosa should really be present at the front, controlling things, putting his stamp on it.
"Because once the break does go, there’s the unwritten rule, a gentlemen’s agreement, that once a rider stops for a wee, particularly the pink jersey, the whole race will stop. So he’s got to really enforce himself now and put his stamp on the race."
As he continued to zip along the road, Wiggins added: "His DS [directeur sportif] is here, giving me a nod and a smile, not too concerned with it at the moment, but I think the maglia rosa should really be much more present at the front showing a bit more unity with his team-mates.
"Not a great sign for the maglia rosa."
Wiggins has touched down in Italy for the second half of the Giro, with the five-time Olympic champion set to bring Eurosport and discovery+ viewers as close as possible to the action.

'There's Ray Winstone there!' - Brad on a Bike is back!

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Stream the Giro d'Italia live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
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