Team Sky looking to 'tick box' and win first Worlds TTT title

'On paper we're strong but it comes down to the preparation,' says Sky DS Brett Lancaster

Their rivals have been quick to pinpoint Team Sky as the main threat for the team time trial at the World Championships but Brett Lancaster has been keen to play down talk of pre-race favourites on the eve of the event.

Team Sky have arrived in Bergen, Norway, with arguably their strongest ever line-up for the 42.5km test. Tour de France and Vuelta a España winner Chris Froome, Michael Kwiatkowski, Geraint Thomas, Vasil Kiryienka, Gianni Moscon and Owain Doull make up their contingent, and although the squad has spent less time in Norway preparing than some of their rivals, Lancaster believes they can 'tick this box.'

"I've only been involved with team for two years but the team we took to Florence in 2013, when we were third, had Froome, Thomas, Porte and Boasson Hagen. That was a strong team too," Lancaster told Cyclingnews.

"The course here suits our characteristics but it's a strong team. We're just going to take it like any other race we do, and attack it."

"We want to tick this box. We've ticked a lot of boxes this year and if we can it would be fantastic to finish off what's been fantastic year with another success. It would probably be the team's most successful year ever."

Last year's podium trio of Quick-Step, BMC Racing and Orica-Scott have spent longer in Norway than Sky, while several teams set up training camps in preparation for the Worlds. Sky's approach has been different, and Lancaster admits that most of the team's homework and pre-race analysis has come down to the last few days.

"On paper we're strong but it comes down to the preparation in the final two days and getting everything right," he said.

"Today was a really good session and we did that final section twice because it's quite technical. We didn't see that part of the course yesterday so you try and cram as much into one session as possible and hope that it all comes together."

Sky's team comprises riders from the Vuelta and Tour of Britain. In the latter race, three of their six finished inside the top eight in the individual time trial, while Froome and Moscon both showed their form in Spain. Lancaster hinted that spending such a long time in Norway may not have been the ideal preparation.

"We've ridden a lot together, like at the Vuelta. Orica, they came out here but that was a bit of a risk with the weather, and the roads weren't great for training, to be honest. I think we'll piece it together and see how it goes but one of the underdogs that no one has mentioned is Lotto Jumbo. If you look at them from Tour of Britain, and the line up they have here, I think that they're going to be in the mix for the medals. Of course there's also BMC, QuickStep and Orica."

Froome is the obvious standout rider within the Sky line-up. In Norway with the aim of winning two World titles, he is looking to close his season on a high.

"He wanted to do this from the Tour," Lancaster said.

"Last year the Olympics were in the mix so he was a bit pinged after it. Now he's looking good, and feeling good. He wants to really finish the season off."

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