LA COVATILLA, Spain, Aug 28 (Reuters)- Powerful mountain riding by Bradley Wiggins on the Covatilla climb on Sunday in the Tour of Spain means the Briton is poised to seize the leader's jersey after Monday's time trial.
Wiggins with the help of team-mate Chris Froome shed all the other favourites to finish fourth, just four seconds behind stage winner Dan Martin of Ireland at the summit of the 18-km Covatilla climb.
"The original plan was to limit my losses as much as possible," Wiggins, a triple Olympic gold medallist, told Reuters.
"I never thought I'd do as well as that. But the team were brilliant again, Froome was shining."
"Once I saw the other guys were in difficulties, I just went into time trial mode and tried to take as much time off them as I could.
"I was really surprised to see guys like (former leader Joaquim) Rodriguez and (Belgian contender Jurgen) Van Den Broeck losing time."
The Briton's strong performance puts him in 13th place overall, a minute down on Dutchman Bauke Mollema, who named Wiggins as the favourite for Monday's 47-km test.
"Tomorrow is where I'm expecting to make most of my gains, everything earned here was a bonus," said Wiggins