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"They've done a lot of racing before and they want to be ready for Harelbeke and Wevelgem, so we made the choice to give them more rest so they can be ready," Sky sports director Servais Knaven said.

Photo: Sirotti










26.03.2014 @ 08:00 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Team Sky made a decision to rest some of their riders after the demanding this year’s editio of Milano-Sanremo and thus they will line up with only six riders in Dwars door Vlaanderen today, as their key classics rider Geraint Thomas is expected to recover towards E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wavelgem.


Sky’s approach to rest some of their classics specialists ahead of upcoming cobbled events in not exceptional, as BMC and MTN-Qhubeka will start today’s semi-classic with seven and five riders respectively, nor it is surprising considering we’re about to enter the busiest period of the calendar in regards to important one-day races with Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wavelgem, Driedaagse de Panne (which is a stage race, however targeted by classic specialists) and Ronde van Vlaanderen to take place within eleven days.


The British team kicked off their classics season in the best possible manner as Ian Stannard has won the opening Omloop het Nieuwsblad while Ben Swift came of age to prevail in highly unfavorable weather conditions and make the podium of Milano-Sanremo last Sunday. Sky certainly hope to keep up the momentum to make amends for their ill-fated spring campaign last year and team’s sports director Servais Knaven confirmed that resting some riders today, particularly Thomas and Eisel, is a fair price in order to have them ready for more important events coming later this week.


"They've done a lot of racing before and they want to be ready for Harelbeke and Wevelgem, so we made the choice to give them more rest so they can be ready," Sky directeur sportif Servais Knaven told Cyclingnews.


"It's always a hard call, but after the hard San Remo on Sunday they needed a little time to recover."


Geraint Thomas has shown a great condition lately and certainly lived up to expectations as an unexpected Sky leader in Paris-Nice before he pulled out of competition due to a crash in a penultimate stage of French event. Welshman didn’t sustain any major injuries in the accident but fell out of contention and eventually abandoned the race. Even though the 27-year old classics specialist line up in Milano-Sanremo last Sunday he didn’t finish the monument and reportedly he still suffers from the effects of his Paris-Nice crash.


"Of course he still feels it a little bit, but he was going very well in San Remo. He got really cold and stopped in the second feed zone. He didn't lose a lot of his condition and now he has a few more days to recover. He should be ready for Friday."


An attempt to create a well consolidated classics unit with their key riders Stannard, Thomas and Edvald Boasson Hagen having undergone whole preparation period together in order to build a strong understanding and team spirit was part of new Sky’s approach, intended to finally break a duck and take the spoils in Flemish races. Even though the British squad seems to be struck with a plaque of injuries at the moment, the first impressions from introducing their new programme are good and team’s management is positive about the results in upcoming events.


"The morale is good, we won Nieuwsblad and we worked really well as a team," said Knaven.


"Everybody should be a bit better than three weeks ago but that is for most of the peloton and hopefully we are on the same level compared to the others and that we are there in the final. It's hard to say who's going to win the bike race, but the aim is to go into the final and have a good chance to win one of the five or six races coming up."


It was reported last week that Bradley Wiggins will reinforce Sky’s classics unit as the former Tour de France champion pointed out to the Paris-Roubaix as one if his main objectives for 2014 season. However, despite initial plans to participate in Dwars door Vlaanderen today, he was assigned to ride the Volta a Catalunya what also didn’t come to fruition as the 33-year old Briton eventually decided to undergo a two-week training block instead of clocking more kilometers in competition.

Even though Wiggins will line up only in Scheldeprijs before his participation in Paris-Roubaix, Knaven insists that lack of extensive racing on cobbles shouldn’t affect Briton’s performances in the famous monument.


"He's really strong and he was going really well in Tirreno, but he still needs an extra bit of training to get his best form. That's why he chose not to race in this period and do a good training block and come back in Scheldeprijs and Roubaix," Knaven told Cyclingnews.


"Some guys need the feeling of the cobbles and others don't. The most important thing is that you're in good shape and that is what Brad is working on at the moment. It is the last five or 10 percent extra that he needs and not just for Roubaix, but for California after that."



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