Sir Bradley Wiggins has admitted he's been disappointed with his opening week at the Giro d'Italia this year, according to The Guardian.

The defending Tour de France champion has been hampered by punctures and falls, and currently sits 76 seconds off the pace after the first nine stages.

Italian rider and home favourite Vincenzo Nibali is the front-runner, while 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has also impressed.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Wiggins said: "I never expected it to be as straightforward as the Tour last year.

"It's been a tough challenge, but we knew it'd be that way."

Descending has been a problem for the Olympic gold medallist, and Wiggins has looked tentative on recent stages after a fall on a wet descent to Pescara on stage seven.

"I drifted a little bit too far back on the second last climb - there was a downhill section in the middle of the climb - I just wasn't taking the risks.

"I kind of was willing to move up a bit on the climbs and then we came down the descent into the last climb and there were a few crashes ahead of me which slowed me down.

"So I was already off the back of the group - and then in doing that, trying to chase harder, crashed anyway."

The Team Sky rider clawed back time in the first team time trial in stage two, but the fall caused him to lose those gains. And a puncture in the most recent time trial meant he could only finish second, behind Movistar's Alex Dowsett.

Wiggins, regarded as one of the world's premier time triallists, said that finish was a "disappointment".

"Let's be honest," said Wiggins. "I descended like a bit of a girl really after the crash…Not to disrespect girls, I have one at home. But that's life and we have to push on and deal with the disappointments."

The riders resume the Giro on Tuesday after a rest day on Monday, with Wiggins positioned in fourth place behind Nibali, Evans and Robert Gesink.

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