The British team, which employed de Jongh until he admitted to his doping past in 2012, won a fourth Tour de France this summer in convincing fashion but at the Vuelta a España they were caught on the hop when Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana ambushed them in the third week. The episode effectively ended Chris Froome's bid to win a second consecutive Grand Tour.
Froome and Sky's mistakes on stage 15 of the Vuelta have been well documented but at the Tour they have been near faultless in recent years.
- Vuelta a Espana: How Quintana and Contador tore up the script
- Contador: It will be hard to beat Team Sky with their budget
- Trek-Segafredo gather for winter training camp - Gallery
"The Vuelta is different to the Tour but at the Tour you can also have surprises," argued De Jongh.
Complacency has been a factor at Team Sky in the past and, after a disappointing 2014 Tour, it was admitted that they needed to reassess several aspects within their set-up.
'Contador wants to prove he can still do it'
After a difficult final season at the Tinkoff squad, Alberto Contador appears settled at his new team. Word within the team is that the 34 year-old is enjoying the relaxed environment and professional structure.
According to De Jongh, the Spaniard is even stronger than in recent years and, were it not for the crashes that littered his latest campaign, he would have been a far more competitive force in 2016.
With Bauke Mollema, Jarlinson Pantano, Peter Stetina, and a more stable environment at Trek-Segafredo, the two-time Tour winner will be hoping to recapture his form of old. When team boss Luca Guercilena first approached Contador mid-way through 2016 one of the Italian's main selling points was a stable home.
"He also wants to show the audience he can do it. That's what has helped him continue. He loves training, he loves the bike so if you can still do results and see that you’re still improving then you come to the conclusion that it's not the right time to stop. He's not been lucky and that's been the main cause of doubt but if you look at races like Paris-Nice and Catalunya he was close to winning. He won Pais Vasco and I think that's where he started to doubt whether he should still stop.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.