World Championships: Sky make the most of team time trial despite training crash

Portal praises team's performance in adversity

Team Sky’s build-up to the team time trial at the World Championships was far from ideal but they have been able to take confidence after placing ninth on Sunday. Three of Sky’s riders, Danny Pate, Luke Rowe and Elia Viviani, all crashed in training on Saturday when Pate hit a pothole.

The team, which took bronze in 2013, had high hopes going into Sunday’s event but were forced to make a late call whether or not to start as a result of the crash. All six were able to make the start and Sky completed the course in a time that was 1:41 slower than winners BMC.

“Given what happened yesterday, I thought that was a good ride. Elia did a strong pull at the beginning and Danny fought all the way until the end,” said team directeur sportif Nicolas Portal. “Luke contributed before he was dropped and Ian was his usual strong self. Salva (Salvatore Puccio) has come out of the Vuelta in really good form and Kiry was just a machine. No one could pass him on the front and he's looking great for Wednesday's individual time trial.

"Before the crash, I think we were looking at a podium position here so it's a shame the way things turned out."

Viviani was the worst affected by the training crash, after injuring his knee, and was seriously in doubt for the team time trial. He has been on good form in the last month, winning three stages at the Tour of Britain and appeared to be climbing well. He is one of Italy’s possible options for next Sunday's road race, along with Diego Ulissi and Giacomo Nizzolo. Despite his injuries, the team are feeling positive about his form.

"Elia was taking some long, hard turns before he dropped back, and that's a good sign. He's got a week to recover now and we're all hoping for that he can come good. He was in fantastic shape at the Tour of Britain last week and this is a big goal for him,” Portal said. “Danny deserves some praise as well. He was really motivated to do a good ride in front of his home crowd, and he showed a lot of bravery to still be in the first four at the finish. Chapeau to him."

Team Sky weren’t the only ones to fall foul of the course, with Tinkoff-Saxo coming down during the race when Michael Valgren touched a wheel in front of him and took Michael Rogers down with him.

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