Team Sky ready for decisive stages in Tirreno-Adriatico
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Team Sky ready for decisive stages in Tirreno-Adriatico

by VeloNation Press at 6:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Thus far, Tirreno-Adriatico has been a race chiefly determined by sprint finishes, but today’s longest stage features an uphill drag to the line and should start to shake up the general classification. The final kilometre features a section of road with 15% gradient, and Team Sky is hoping that its three GC contenders will begin to make an impression.

Juan Antonio Flecha, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Thomas Löfkvist are currently all 14 seconds behind race leader Daniele Bennati (Liquigas – Doimo), sitting in 15th, 22nd and 27th place overall. According to team-mate Michael Barry, the three could challenge today and in the days ahead.

"They're all in fine form right now and have a good shot at stage victories and the overall classification," he stated.

"I think we will have a better idea of who will have a shot in the overall classification once we hit the big climbs. Ideally, all three will be up there though and then we will have some different cards to play."

Barry, a very experienced professional, feels that today’s lumpy, 243 kilometre race from San Gemini to Chieti could see big gaps starting to open in the overall standings.

"It's long and hilly,” he explained. “The finish is uphill as well so it should be fairly selective and could prove decisive for the overall classification.

"With that in mind, it will be important for the whole team to be up front so that our leaders are in position to attack the final ascent."

Putting it together

The team is a new one to cycling and its riders are still trying to get together as a unit. It’s clocked up a number of wins thus far but Barry feels that the Team Sky competitors still have room for improvement, in terms of how it finishes off its efforts to land victories.

Yesterday, Flecha took fifth and Boasson Hagen was eighth. Barry said that things could have been better if everything had clicked.

"Overall I thought the team rode well. The day went pretty much as planned - the run-in was a little harder than we had expected but we managed to get ourselves positioned near the front okay,” he said.

"The plan was to lead out Edvald for the win but we didn't quite execute it to perfection as there was some confusion over that last kilometre. Had there not been any problems he would have had a clear run at the line and a good chance at the victory.”

The team has a large assortment of strong riders and also some very good support staff. Barry feels that all they need is a little more time, then results will start to flow in with greater frequency.

"We are still getting used to racing with one another and errors like that just serve as a step in our progression,” he explained. "We are improving all the time - we will learn from these small errors and will nail it very soon."

Bennati holds a slender four second lead over previous stage winners Linus Gerdemann (Team Miram) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step). Other riders such as Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Matti Breschel (Team Saxo Bank) and world champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) are between eight and thirteen second back, with the Team Sky trio just behind those.



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