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Knaven says team spirit lead to Bayern victories for Team Sky

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
May 30, 2011, 20:06 BST,
Updated:
May 30, 2011, 21:12 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Race:
Bayern-Rundfahrt
Geraint Thomas is the new leader of the Bayern Rundfahrt making it a double celebration for Team Sky on stage four.

Geraint Thomas is the new leader of the Bayern Rundfahrt making it a double celebration for Team Sky on stage four.

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DS encouraged by Boasson Hagen's strong performance

Directeur Sportif Servais Knaven has a simple explanation for Team Sky's domination of the Tour of Bavaria, saying that “everyone wants to ride for each other.” He praised not only overall winner Geraint Thomas but also stage winners Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

The team won two of the five stages, podiumed in every stage, and wore the leader's jersey for a majority of the stages. In the end, they took the overall win with Thomas, the sprinter's jersey with Boasson Hagen and the team title.

"We just had a really strong team and it was really important that we play different cards,” Knaven told Cyclingnews.

Bradley Wiggins was the captain and team leader coming into the race, and the team started its control of things during the first stage. “We wanted to do a good race, and went with a really strong team. We already started controlling the race on the first stage. With the time trial on Saturday we knew we had a good chance for the GC, and the most important thing was to protect Bradley.”

However, it was not Wiggins but Thomas who was in the race-decisive break on the third stage. "After that, he was our man.”

"The most important thing is that everyone wants to ride for each other, so that when the moment was there, everyone was riding for 'G',” Knaven said. “Everyone helps each other when necessary. When we make a plan, everyone sticks to it.

The team suffered under the handicap of losing two riders on the second stage to illness. “Then we had to change things a bit, you are not able to control a race with only five riders.”

Having missed the group on stage three, Wiggins finished over 5 minutes down and turned his attention to the next day's time trial. He won it in spectacular style, beating four-time world champion Fabian Cancellara by 33 seconds on the 26km course.

Knaven told Cyclingnews that he was not surprised. “I expected him to do really well, he was in really good form, and said he felt really good. He was really motivated also, so I know he would do a really good time trial.”

Thomas finished fifth in the time trial and took over the GC lead. Both he and Boasson Hagen, “did a really good time trial.”

Boasson Hagen's performance left Knaven optimistic. “He sprinted well, did a good time trial, did well on the climbs. In my mind he is back on the right track.”<

The young Norwegian has struggled so far this season, and the stage one win was his first of the season. But Knaven is convinced he has turned the corner. “He had some problems before the Classics with his Achilles tendon, and he was in good form before crashing in the Scheldeprijs. But was back on a good level at Picardie and really good in Bayern.

He had three podium finishes in the sprints, didn't have a bad day at all. He is looking good for the coming months.”

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