Great weekend for the Brits
Two stage races in Spain finished this weekend and both of them had British winners (and naturally both ride for Team Sky).
Chris Froome was busy in Andalucia in the first head to head against Alberto Contador this season, Froome claimed first blood by launching an attack and riding away from his main rival. It was a close run thing however with Froome winning by just 2 seconds.
The gulf in class between them and the rest of the field was obvious with Benat Intxausti finishing third but two and a half minutes back. The team dominance of Sky showed itself with 5 riders finishing in the top 8 places (and 6 in the top 13) whereas Tinkoff-Saxo relied solely on Contador to get a result – their next best rider was Ivan Basso in 28th.
Meanwhile over in the Algarve, Geraint Thomas earnt himself a rare stage race victory. He won stage 2 and then stayed in front the rest of the race to win by 27 seconds over world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, third was Katusha’s Tiago Machado at 1 minute 11 seconds.
Against the team aspect of Sky came through with Richie Porte marshalling Thomas through the hardest stages and came 4th overall with a stage win as well. Geraint has shown glimpses of promise in the stage races in the past, leading Paris-Nice until crashing badly on the final stage and these week-long races are the sort he can genuinely become a serious contender in. Plus he comes across as an all round decent bloke.
This weekend combined with Cavendish’s race win in Dubai and the Brits are off to a great start to the season.