Team Sky riders and principal Sir Dave Brailsford spent yesterday’s rest day discussing the team’s tactical reaction to Sunday’s stage, in which race leader Chris Froome found himself with no team support on the day’s major climbs.
Froome had to fight off attacks from Movistar riders Rui Costa, Alejandro Valverde and Ruben Plaza after support rider Peter Kennaugh crashed and Richie Porte was unable to maintain the pace on the climbs.
Let’s hear it for Geraint Thomas! Seriously, the Team Sky rider has performed heroics in this year’s Tour de France despite sustaining a fracture to his pelvis in a crash on day one.
Where to start?
After having a heavy crash, I am in the position to watch more of the big one this year as opposed to being out and about on my bike training and racing.
With that in mind here are my observations from an opening weekend to remember....
Mat and Tony are in Corsica ahead of the Tour de France, and have been snooping around the team hotels checking out the latest bikes and kit on display. They had a good look around the Team Sky set up, and took a very close look at Geraint Thomas' Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think2 and Vasil Kiryienka's Bolide time trial bike (which is the same as Chris Froome will ride), as the mechanics made final preparations before the start on Sunday.
Geraint Thomas says he is in top shape to support Chris Froome in the Tour de France mountain stages – assuming that Team Sky call him up to support the pre-race favourite.
Thomas missed last year’s race as he focused instead on preparing for London 2012, where he was a member of the team pursuit line-up that successfully defended the title he had helped win in Beijing four year's earlier.
But last week, he was a key member of the squad that helped Froome seal overall victory in the Critérium du Dauphineé.
Tom Jelte Slagter of Blanco Pro Cycling, who took his first pro win on Thursday, has secured the overall title in the Santos Tour Down Under, while Lotto Belisol’s André Greipel has made it 100 wins as a professional in Adelaide today, 14 of them coming in this race. After losing the overall lead to Slagter yesterday, Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas targeted the points jersey today – and won that, as well as the day’s combativity prize and a podium place on GC.
Tom-Jelte Slagter of Blanco Pro Cycling is set to win the Santos Tour Down Under after wresting the race lead from Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas on the penultimate stage’s summit finish at Old Willunga Hill. Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Gerrans celebrated Australia Day by taking the stage win ahead of Slagter.
With a number of riders within striking distance of the race lead this morning, Edvald Boasson Hagen had made sure that Thomas remained in touch as several riders played their cards on the two ascents of Old WIllunga Hill.
André Greipel has won his second stage of this year’s Santos Tour Down Under, the thirteenth of his career, taking him ahead of Robbie McEwen as the most successful rider in the history of the race. The closing kilometres were marred by several crashes as the peloton headed towards the finish in Tanunda, with the wind giving rise to nerves. Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas keeps the overall lead ahead of tomorrow’s crucial penultimate stage, which finishes on Old Willunga Hill.
Tom-Jelte Slagter has taken Blanco Pro Cycling’s maiden win in Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under, attacking from 350 metres out and staying ahead of a rapidly closing Matt Goss of Orica-GreenEdge and world champion Philippe Gilbert of BMC Racing. Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas was fourth and retains the overall lead, with Slagter moving up to second, 5 seconds down.