Chris Froome headed to Monaco for a few days at home before the world championship road race with a bronze medal around his neck and a smile on his face after an impressive performance by Team Sky in the team time trial world championships.
While some teams had held training camps, carefully selected riders and studied every inch in minute detail, Team Sky used their experience and combination of riders to finish third behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Orica-GreenEdge but ahead of BMC, Radioshack-Leopard and Astana.
Froome, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Vasil Kiryienka and Edvald Boasson Hagen and Kanstantsin Siutsou set a time of 1:04:39. They were 22 seconds slower than Omega Pharma-Quick Step but a significant 1:02
faster than BMC.
What Team Sky lacked in fitness, freshness and power, they made up with experience, intelligence and a cycling sixth sense gained from this year's Tour de France. All six riders in the team time trial world championship sextet were part of the winning team at this year's Tour de France and so could call on the intuition a Grand Tour victory instills in riders' minds.
Thomas contributed his time trial and team pursuit skills, while Kiryienka put down the metronomic rhythm he acquired at the Vuelta and used to win a stage. Froome opted to miss a few turns after going into the red early on but that ensured he could still play a part all the way until the finish.
"I think we possibly started a little fast and I think I personally spent a little but too much too early. I was struggling in the middle section of the race but felt better towards the end," he explained to several media at the finish, including Cyclingnews.
"We worked well together. The six of us have spent a lot of time together this season and were learning to read each other quite well. A few of us skipped turns every now and again but it was all quite smooth even if the order was mixed it. We're a good group."
Froome headed home to Monaco but will return to Tuscany on Friday. He will be the team leader for Great Britain in Sunday's 272km road race. After suffering in the recent Canadian WorldTour races, he appeared more optimistic about the road race.
"It's a good opener ahead of next weekend," he said of the team time trial.
"It was a big effort but was important. We'll be back next weekend to do the best race possible."