Chris Froome (Sky) said he was satisfied with his first long effort of the season in the Volta a Catalunya team time trial on stage 2, where Sky claimed the third spot, 46 seconds behind winners Movistar.
"Today will be more decisive than any other stage, but let's see," Froome said after the stage. "We're certainly here to race, we're not here to race for a podium, hopefully we'll light things up at some point and go for it."
Sky's strong performance – together with BMC's and Trek-Segafredo's, second and fourth – was somewhat overshadowed when the controversy surrounding Movistar and the pushes given by José Joaquín Rojas to his teammates erupted. However, Sky remain in a strong position overall, regardless of whom is in the lead, and both Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome remain among the top GC placings.
"It was very technical out there and in a time trial of 40 kilometres, we could expect some pretty big time gaps there," Froome told a small group of reporters after he had warmed down near the finish.
Speaking before Movistar had finished – and the controversy had broken – Froome said, "But I think for me personally it's my first big effort back at WorldTour level and it was good to be out there with the other guys. But I think it sounds like Movistar are setting the course alight and putting pretty big time deficits into everyone."
"I think we'll have to see what the final deficits are, but we'll see what we can do these next few days with a big mountain stage tomorrow [Wednesday] and another big one on Friday. Hopefully we've got a few good cards to play with myself and G [Thomas], who's going really well on the back of Tirreno. Let's see how the week goes."
Discussing the summit finish on stage 3 and the new side of La Molina, a much-used climb which the Volta will take this time, Froome said "I'm not sure I've ever done it from this side where we're going up, but it'll be similar to other years, a little bit longer."
"It always kicks up towards the top so it's normally a climb for the more punchy guys, someone like Dan Martin, Alejandro Valverde maybe. I think he'll be the favourite to be in the lead, if he's not after this evening." Valverde is in the lead after his teammate Rojas was stripped of the top spot for pushing.
"But we're not the only ones who've lost a bit time, so have Contador and Trek so it might be in our own interest to ride a very aggressive race in the last few days now."
Froome pointed out that the weather, too, could play a major part in the race outcome. Although rain finally stayed away on Tuesday, temperatures dropped steadily as the afternoon wore on and the weather is expected to worsen from Wednesday afternoon onwards. "We could be getting snow, too, in the next few days, things changing quite a bit, so I think anything could yet happen at this point.
Informed, as he spoke, that Movistar had beaten BMC by a scant two seconds, Froome said "Just by two? I guess they must have slowed down in the final."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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