Team Sky performance manager Rod Ellingworth has acknowledged that injuries sustained by Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard in the opening days of the Tour de France will impact on the British squad's prospects for Tuesday's team time trial in Nice. Speaking at the stage three start in Calvi, Ellingworth told Cyclingnews:
"We're already going to have to take into account the injuries that Gee and Ian have got. They will be a little bit limited, but you've got to live with it."
Ellingworth said the team would discuss their plan for the team time trial with the riders on Tuesday morning. He admitted, though, that they were unlikely to be too complicated.
"Everybody is just going to go as hard as they can. The course is very straightforward. It's not technical at all. It's just flat-out power - grit your teeth and hang on.
"I think all of the top teams will be quite close - within a minute of each other. It certainly won't be the defining moment. Those will come on the climbs. But we will try to win the stage. I don't see why we can't. We've won two already this year and it would be nice to win another."
Despite the injuries to two key members of their time trial engine-room, Ellingworth said he was looking forward to the test in Nice.
"I think what's nice about the team time trial is that it's quite a separate discipline and it's quite good for the teams because as a result of the introduction of the world team time trial championship it adds a little bit of extra excitement to the event," he explained.
Team boss Dave Brailsford said the team would not go into the TTT looking to take the yellow jersey.
"We want a good, solid team time trial. All of the teams looking towards the GC will be looking at it as a day where their main goal is to minimise losses," said Brailsford.
Speaking at the finish of stage three in Calvi, Sky leader Chris Froome acknowledged he was glad to be putting the Corsican stages behind him and looking forward to the race reaching mainland France.
"Obviously the race will settle down a little bit now, especially after the team time trial tomorrow," said Froome.
"Our objectives will be to simply go as fast as we can. We've got a couple of guys who are a little bit injured and that's going to slow us down a little bit, but we still hope to get a competitive time tomorrow. I wouldn't say no to being in yellow, I would never say no to that. If that did happen we would be thrilled to bits."
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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