Geraint Thomas remained upbeat following the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday, despite admitting that Team Sky's loss of 47 seconds to team time trial winners Mitchelton-Scott and their leader Adam Yates puts them "quite far behind".
"It's not ideal, certainly," Thomas told reporters at the finish, "but you never know with bike racing. Mitchelton-Scott did a real good, strong ride, and unfortunately we are quite far behind, but there are still six day of racing to go."
Second-placed team Jumbo-Visma – who finished just seven seconds off the Australian WorldTour team's winning time – is home to another race favourite in Primoz Roglic, who won a stage and the overall classification at the recent UAE Tour and will prove to be a real danger man over the coming week, according to Thomas.
"We saw how well he was going there in the UAE, and he's going for the Giro d'Italia, so obviously he's in good shape now and he's got a strong team around him. For sure he's the favourite, but, like I said, we'll see what we can do," added Thomas, who's sharing leadership of the British team with Dutchman Wout Poels this week in Italy.
"The race is up and down the whole time. It's proper racing, of course, so I think there'll be a lot of attacks – not just from us, but from everybody, including Deceuninck-QuickStep, who've got Julian Alaphilippe here. I think a lot of people are going to be aggressive, and there's a lot of racing to come," he said.
Tirreno-Adriatico continues on Thursday with the first road stage of this year's race, with the riders facing 189km on stage 2 between Camaiore and Pomerance.