Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome spoke after stage two of the 2016 Tour de France
Further back was Richie Porte (BMC Racing) who lost time due to a puncture and a slow rear wheel change.
“It was a big old chase and a bit frantic in the peloton, and that finish climb was tough as well”, Thomas said after the stage.
“It was a real hard pace but we got Froomey in a decent position,” he continued. “I went slightly out the back over the top where it was really stringing out but I think Froomey was safe and that’s the main thing.”
This speaks loudly of his re-evaluated role and targets at the race. The Welshman had been billed as a protected rider but in the week before the Grand Départ his role was said to be that of chief-domestique, as was the case in 2015.
Something Thomas highlighted was a calmer time for his team in the opening stages.
“It hasn’t been as stressful as past years, for now, tomorrow might be different. I think everyone just seems a bit more calm, its definitely a good think though, I’m not complaining.” he said.
Speaking about his team leader, Thomas was positive about what he’d seen: “He looked good there and comfortable, but this week’s all about staying out of trouble.”
With regards to Contador’s tough time on the first two stages, Thomas made it clear that Team Sky hadn’t looked to capitalise on his misfortune.
“I think it’s unfortunate for him to crash twice but we weren’t going to push it just to get rid of him, it was all about just keeping Froomey there out of trouble and because we were racing for the stage then obviously the pace was high.”
Watch: Highlights from stage two of the 2016 Tour de France
Froome spoke of his team’s tactic when it comes to the more technical and frenetic stages.
Referring to his rivals’s time losses, he said: “That’s why we really make an effort to be up front.
“Guys like Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, up there protecting me on days like this, and keeping me at the front and at least giving me the best chance to stay out of trouble, stay out of harm’s way.
“It’s unfortunate they’ve lost that much time already. It’s never nice to see any of the big GC guys getting hurt like that.”
However, he knows better than to count people like Contador out of the running just yet.
“You look at the end of the Tour and it will be won or lost by minutes, sometimes, and these gaps are still relatively insignificant at this point.”