Wiggins looks to avoid trouble
Bradley Wiggins will aim to stay out of trouble on the sixth stage of the Tour de France as Mark Cavendish goes in search of another stage win.
Memories of crashing out of the 2011 Tour led Wiggins and Team Sky to increase the tempo on the 196.5-kilometre fifth stage from Rouen to Saint-Quentin, which was won by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
After living dangerously in the opening week of the Tour so far, with world champion Cavendish and Bernhard Eisel crashing heavily on stage four, a day after Kanstantsin Siutsou abandoned with a broken leg, Team Sky upped the ante.
The change of tactics was an instruction from team principal Dave Brailsford, who described the performance as "a million miles better" ahead of Friday's 207.5km sixth stage from Epernay to Metz.
Wiggins was forced out of the 2011 Tour with a fractured collarbone after being involved in a mid-peloton crash and had some close calls in the first week of the Tour to date.
"It was just a conscious effort," Wiggins said.
"We've got the legs, we've got one of the best teams here so if we could just use that a bit more and, as Dave B (Brailsford) said this morning 'let's just stop dithering'.
"You just can't take any chances. Everyone realises where the safest place to ride is."
Team Sky's primary concern is Wiggins' ambition of being the first British Tour winner in Paris on July 22.
The 32-year-old Londoner remained second in the overall standings, seven seconds adrift of Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and 10 seconds ahead of seventh-placed Cadel Evans, the defending champion.
The triple Olympic champion is feeling strong.
He added: "I'm second in the Tour de France. There's only one place to go.
"You risk de-training a bit in this first week because it's so easy in the peloton, you're literally doing nothing at times.
"It was nice for me to be able to hit the front and open up a little bit."
The plan was justified as another late crash fractured the field with around 3km to go before Greipel triumphed for the second successive day.
Cavendish, bruised following his fall 24 hours earlier, was fifth, as, for the second successive day, he was denied the opportunity to draw level with Lance Armstrong and Andre Darrigade on 22 stage wins.
Another opportunity should arise in Metz.