Team Sky put in a solid display in the opening stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia on Friday, finishing fifth in the team time trial in Belfast. The British squad, who won the team event in last year’s race, finished 35 seconds behind stage winners Orica-GreenEDGE and relied on a strong ride in the second half of the 21.7 km test to pull themselves into the mix.
The team had started relatively slowly, only managing to chalk up 9th place (out of 12) at the first time check. However as the weather improved the team began to find their feet.
By the time they crossed the line they had limited their losses, while also managing to put time into the likes of Movistar, Astana and Katusha.
“The weather wasn’t ideal, and although it improved whilst we were on the course, the roads were still slippery so we had to keep our wits about us,” Ben Swift said on the team’s website.
“We lost Bernie [Eisel] on that climb to Stormont. He’d had a few mechanical problems during his warm up so wasn’t as well prepared as he could have been and we missed his horsepower over the second half of the course. CJ hung on for as long as he could as well, but it was no surprise he dropped off given his late call up to the team.”
Team Sky came into the race without a genuine contender for the podium. However Dario Cataldo and Kanstantsin Siutsou have been designated as the team’s GC hopefuls. The main ambition for the team though is to win stages.
“We all gave it our all and were happy to claw some time back on GreenEdge and finish strongly. I felt good out there, better than I’ve done in a team time trial for a long time, and I think we can be happy with the result. Our focus turns to tomorrow now and we’ll try to do something if it comes down to a sprint,” Swift added.
Team Sky will have a chance to win a stage on stage 2 of the race with both Swift and Edvald Boasson Hagen capable sprinters.
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