Team Sky has appeared to tick every box at this year's Tour de France, a point that was underlined in emphatic fashion at today's final stage in Paris where Mark Cavendish sprinted to his third stage win of the race and his second in the last three days. It was Cavendish's fourth consecutive victory in the Tour's signature final leg and his first in Sky colours.
With Bradley Wiggins securing an historic first British Tour victory and Chris Froome finishing in second place in the overall GC, the last three weeks have seemed more comfortable than anyone thought possible for the British team, who have made good on their promise to win the Tour in their first five years of operation two seasons early.
But when Cyclingnews caught up with Sky sporting director Sean Yates at the finish on the Champs-Élysées today, he revealed that Sky's dominance of this Tour hadn't been as easy as it possibly appeared to the untrained eye.
"I wouldn't say it was comfortable but we made it look comfortable," he said. "Every race is big and this is the biggest of the lot. We've been building towards this since we started winning in the Algarve. This team has always been together with the exception of [Bernhard] Eisel and Cav but we knew we were on track and we knew we wanted to be at our best in July and we were.
"The team has been delivering this year, race in and race out. It was a case of continuing in that theme. It looked fairly boring at times and fairly easy but I can assure you it was not. The boys are all pretty exhausted but the trick is not to let everybody else know and stick together, keep cool and work in unison."
Asked how satisfying it was to deliver Cavendish to the win in the Tour's final stage, Yates could not hide his delight. Complacency does not seem to be a word bandied about liberally on the Team Sky bus.
"It's fantastic," he said. "Obviously he was well up for it today and he showed that he's still got a good turn of speed. So yes it's very satisfying. We could have easily switched off, having won the time trial and virtually won the race, but we didn't. We stayed focused until the end and delivered Mark. The boys did a great job and Bernie was a great captain on the road."
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.