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“In the afternoon it was a really good stage from the guys. We lost a little in the opening section where it was technical but then once the roads opened out they were really keeping a nice speed."

Photo: Sirotti




26.03.2015 @ 19:24 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Team Sky came within a whisker of victory on stage 1b at Settimana Coppi e Bartali in the afternoon team time trial. With all teams split into two groups the quartet of Ben Swift, Philip Deignan, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Ian Boswell combined to produce an impressive time of 14 minutes and 50 seconds.


The time stood up well heading into the closing stages but was beaten by a single tantalising second by CCC Sprandi Polkowice, allowing Davide Rebellin into a slender race lead. After riding for much of the 13.3km test with three riders, Swift, Deignan and Siutsou are all well-placed on the general classification, one second back.


A seven-man squad meant the team needed to be split unevenly, with Nathan Earle, Chris Sutton and Sergio Henao going off early, disadvantaged as a trio and setting a time of 16:34.


After a busy opening day in Italy, Sports Director Dario Cioni talked through the opening pair of stages.


“At the beginning of the first stage a lot of teams were looking at us,” he confirmed. "When the break went we had to ride a bit just to make sure that they didn’t go 10 minutes up the road. Nathan did a lot of work there. Once we reached the climbs we began to push again.


“We wanted to try something on the stage, especially with Ben winning it last year. Philip and Sergio did a lot of good work on the two climbs. The group was reduced but then we had a headwind going back down and a lot of riders got back on. We were hoping for a more select sprint so Ben could be in a better position.


“In the afternoon it was a really good stage from the guys. We lost a little in the opening section where it was technical but then once the roads opened out they were really keeping a nice speed. Obviously it was a little disappointing to lose the race by less than a second to CCC. But we’re in a good position and there are some hard stages to come.”


Cioni also updated on the impressive progress of Henao, who made his racing return, adding:


“Sergio was the happiest guy on the start line this morning for sure – by a mile! He arrived late last night but he was really keen to get going and happy to be back in the group.


“This is a bit of an entry race for him so he can get back into the rhythm. His fitness levels are good but he still needs to take it step by step, and we’ll make sure he does that.”



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