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Bradley Wiggins claimed his first win on any of the three Grand Tours on Saturday when he raced to victory in the Prologue to this year's Giro d'Italia in Amsterdam, a triumph that will seem him start Sunday's stage one in the leader's pink jersey, the distinctive and historic maglia rosa. By Brendan Gallagher
Published: 5:59PM BST 08 May 2010
In the pink: Bradley Wiggins celebrates his win in the Prologue to the Giro d'Italia Photo: AP Wiggins' narrow win over Brent Bookwalter of the USA and race favourite Cadel Evans around the streets and canals of Amsterdam was also the biggest triumph to date for Team Sky and sets up a fascinating couple of weeks ahead for the new British team.
With just one mountainous stage in the first 13 days of racing, Sky should be able to mount a tough defence of the maglia rosa before the mountain stages come thick and fast in a gruelling final week. Mark Cavendish still leads Giro d'Italia as Alessandro Petacchi wins stage two Every day spent defending the jersey will be invaluable hard-earned experience for the Tour De France in July which inevitably is the focus of their efforts this season.
Twice an Olympic gold medallist in the individual 4km time trial on the track, Wiggins was always one of the favourites to take the Prologue but the 8.4km course proved much more technical than expected and demanded composure as well as power and speed.
Wiggins, who lost the final time-trial of last year's Giro by one second, paced himself perfectly hitting the intermediate time mark one second ahead of Evans and gaining a further second during the second half of the race.
"I was in my own world - that's how I always do these things, " saind Wiggins. "I was oblivious to anyone else and just did my own race. It was hard but I just went for it, especially in the corners. If you want to win it, you've got to commit 100 per cent, like a sprinter when they go for a sprint."
Dave Brailsford was thrilled after Wiggins earned Team Sky a Grand Tour victory at their first attempt. "It's an absolutely brilliant day for us in terms of the whole team. Everybody is pretty happy as you'd expect. "We won the first-ever race that we rode (the curtain-raiser to the Tour Down Under) 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."
On a productive afternoon for Team Sky there was also a fine ride from sprinter Greg Henderson who finished fifth and should feature in sprint finishes on Saturday and Sunday five seconds behind, while Dario Cioni underlined his recent good form by coming home in 15th place.
Scotland's David Millar also enjoyed a good day finishing six seconds behind in seventh, a ride which will give him every chance of challenging for the maglia rosa in Wednesday's team time trial when his Garmin squad start as favourites
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