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Sky bounces back at the Dauphiné

By:
Cycling News
Published:
June 07, 2011, 0:09 BST,
Updated:
June 07, 2011, 1:09 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Race:
Critérium du Dauphiné
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is British TT champion.

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is British TT champion.

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Wiggins and Boasson Hagen in contention for GC

After a mediocre showing at the Giro d'Italia, Team Sky has much higher ambitions at the Dauphiné. The British team started on a high note with Bradley Wiggins (4th) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (5th) both in the top five overall after the prologue and stage 1.

The Norwegian took the white jersey of best young rider at Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse.

"I was feeling quite good in the final climb but the last 300 metres were really hard," Boasson Hagen commented at the finish. "It was complicated to follow all the attacks. Our team did a really good job for closing the gaps. Our tactic today was for me to attempt the stage win and Bradley Wiggins to follow closely."

The white jersey was a reward and a bit of compensation - "I was just unlucky to ride my prologue under the rain but there's not much I could do about that," he added. "I was still happy with my legs, and I am today as well. But my main goal at the Dauphiné is to help Bradley."

Team Sky's directeur sportif Nicolas Portal confirmed to Cyclingnews that the team has high ambitions for the the Dauphiné.

"We haven't set a precise place as an objective but we want Bradley to finish the highest possible on GC," the Frenchman said. "We have a strong team here. We'll do the maximum for Bradley. It's important for the morale, for the team spirit, for the Tour de France, for everything that's coming up."

While Wiggins' competitiveness was expected, Sky welcomed Boasson Hagen's return on a climbing form one year after winning a hard stage in Sallanches and Rigoberto Uran's dedication to the team's interest. When the race became hard in the final climb with many riders eliminated from the battle, the Colombian rode at the service of the Olympic champion.

"What Rigoberto did pleased the whole team," Portal noted. Uran explained: "When I've seen that Edvald was better than me, I rode as much as I can and when I finished my job, I was exhausted."

With different cards to play, Sky seems to have a better approach of the Tour de France than last year. "The team goes better than last year," said Portal who was a rider for Sky at the Dauphiné one year ago. With a race program excluding the Giro d'Italia where he got the pink jersey after winning the prologue, Wiggins has returned to a smoother lead up to the Tour de France with real possibilities of making the final top 3 of the Dauphiné as well as in Paris-Nice in March this year. He finished third in the "race to the sun".

 

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