They came, they saw, but in the end Team Sky's galacticos had to settle for bronze in the men's team time trial in Bergen. Steered by Tour de France and Vuelta a España winner Chris Froome, the British team had led at the first checkpoint but were overhauled by winners Team Sunweb and BMC Racing.
Team Sky team arrived in Norway with a stacked squad that included Froome, former yellow jersey Geraint Thomas, former world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka, one-time road world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Vuetla revelation Gianni Moscon and the highly-rated Owain Doull. Yet in the end Sunweb's proficiency and BMC's experience shone through.
"We gave it everything out on the course today," Froome told Cyclingnews and De Telegraph at the line.
"It wasn't good enough for the first place but we've got to be happy with that. It's a very tough circuit and maybe we could have done things differently in hindsight but we've got to be happy with third place."
While several teams, including BMC and fellow pre-race favourites QuickStep Floors, organised training camps ahead of the race and arrived several days in advance, Team Sky's approach was somewhat different. They selected riders from the Tour of Britain and the Vuelta but spent less time riding reconnaissance than several of their rivals.
Froome and company started in impressive fashion, hitting the first checkpoint in the fastest time, with Quick-Step second, BMC third and Sunweb a distant fourth but according to Froome the early pace may have come back to punish Sky.
"We probably started a little bit fast, so maybe we'd start a little bit more controlled," Froome said when asked if he and his team would have tackled the course differently after the experience.
"I think we went out a bit fast and then paid the price towards the end. Maybe we could have put more emphasis on getting more guys over that climb with 11km to go. It seems like there were big time gaps made and lost against the teams that got over there with six guys."
On the major climb of the race – a 1.4-kilometre slog with pitches of nine per cent – Team Sky showed signs of frailty. They weren't the only team to do so, of course, but by then Doull had peeled off and Thomas was jettisoned with Froome seemingly making the call to push on with four riders left.
"Initially the plan was to try and get over the climb with Geraint but towards the top of the climb he said 'no guys, it's enough' and signalled to us to keep going," Froome added.
"For me personally it's not something I've really focused on. I'm just here on the back of the Tour and the Vuelta. I still feel good and the legs feel good. I was happy to be part of the team and bring something to the team but as you said, a lot of teams have focused for this and pulled riders from Grand Tours to be ready for this. We just put the best squad we could together."
Froome's next and final outing of these World Championships will come on Wednesday when he looks to win the individual time trial.
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.