Team Sky’s Kurt-Asle Arvesen made a surprise appearance outside the Sky team bus on the start of stage 6 in Montargis. The 35-year-old Norwegian was left out of the team’s line-up after his season was blighted by injury.
Here as a television commentator, Arvesen has witnessed his current and previous teams, Sky and Saxo Bank, respectively, act as major protagonists. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) currently leads the race, with Geraint Thomas (Sky) in white as the best young rider.
Had he made Sky’s line-up, Arvesen would have shepherded Bradley Wiggins through the first week. The Briton currently lies in 14th place overall, 1.49 down Cancellara
“I don’t think we’ve seen his form yet, we’ll have to wait until the mountains but hopefully he’s ready like last year. The Alps will be a true test of who is the strongest and Sunday’s stage to Morzine is hard. We’ll see who is in good form. Sky has ridden a good Tour so far and Edvald [Boasson Hagen] and Geraint [Thomas] are both up there and that’s really good. You have to also remember that this is our first Tour together.”
Boasson Hagen currently lies third in the points classification after a consistent but unspectacular start to his Tour debut. However Arvesen doesn’t believe that his fellow Norwegian will target the green jersey at this stage.
“I don’t think he’s thinking about that. He’s mainly here for Bradley but he will try and be there in the sprints.”
As for his former team, Arvesen is well aware how much Andy Schleck will miss older brother Fränk in the mountains.
“Andy will miss Fränk when he comes up to the climbs. He just has to try and follow and then try and attack if he has anything else. When it comes to the big climbs he’s just going to have to think about himself and attack.”
As for the rest of the GC contenders Arvesen selected the usual suspects. “I hope for Bradley and if he does top three he should be really happy. It’s hard this year and there are a lot of good guys up there. Bradley, Contador, Schleck, Contador, Cadel, Gesink and Lance, lots of strong guys.”