Misfortune struck Team Sky in the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck on Sunday after Ian Stannard crashed in the opening kilometre. The team ended up finishing fourth place, just outside of the medals, and 44 seconds behind winners Quick-Step Floors.
“The crash affected our chances of winning today,” Gianni Moscon told Cyclingnews at the finish line. “I don’t know if we would have won, but for sure we would have been on the podium without the crash.”
The elite men raced 62.5km that was mostly flat in the first half and then hit a steep 4km climb at the 40km mark, followed by a fast descent and flat run-in into Innsbruck.
Team Sky’s roster included Moscon and Stannard along with Michal Kwiatkowski, Owain Doull, Vasil Kiryienka and Jonathan Castroviejo. Moscon led the team over a short climb in the opening kilometre and through the first corner, where Stannard suddenly crashed.
“It was just one kilometre after the start at the top of the first little hill,” Moscon said. “I don’t know exactly how the crash happened because I was the first rider of our team to enter the corner. None of us felt like our speed was too high in that corner, but maybe Ian made a mistake.
“We had to wait, and so we lost a lot of time there, and Ian wasn’t feeling great after the crash because we went down hard and hit his side. He missed some turns but was able to help us until we got to the bottom of the climb - we lost him straight away.”
Team Sky continued to race over the steep climb and through the last half of the circuit. After losing Stannard, they then lost Doull and finished with four riders; Moscon, Kwiatkowski, Kiryienka and Castroviejo.
“We overdid it a little bit, probably because of the crash at the start - we had a lot of adrenaline and tried to take back some of the time we lost,” Kwiatkowski told Cyclingnews at the finish line.
Quick-Step Floors won the event in 1:07:25 ahead of runner-up team Sunweb at 18 seconds down, while third-placed BMC finished 19 seconds down. Team Sky finished in a time of 1:08:10, which was only good enough for fourth place.
“It wasn’t an ideal race, but everyone gave 100 per cent and so we have to be proud of how we raced,” Kwiatkowski said. “We finished fourth, and it’s a pity that we don’t have a medal, but at the end of the day that’s the sport.”