Team Sky was forced to hit the reset button at the Giro d’Italia when the British-based squad’s Mikel Landa abandoned the race with illness on stage 10.

With sprinter Elia Viviani also gone after missing the time cut on stage eight, the squad gave its remaining seven riders a free hand to try their luck.

Mikel Nieve was the first to capitalise, despite having only been drafted in to the race as a later replacement. The Spanish climber took a solo victory on stage 13.

Christian Knees told Cycling Weekly that the team’s spirit has never been down. “As soon as Landa went home we straight away came up with a plan to go for stages.”

>>> Giro d’Italia 2016: Latest news, reports, videos and info

Philip Deignan added: “We’ve got seven strong climbers here, normally we’re in a position where we’re working for a leader, so there are a few more opportunities to go away in breakaways and go for stage wins.”

Along with Nieve, Deignan and Knees, Sky has Nicolas Roche, Sebastian Henao, Ian Boswell and David Lopez in the race.

After the third and final rest day on Monday, the 2016 Giro d’Italia resumes on Tuesday with stage 16. The 132km route from Bressanone to Andalo may be short, but it features two second category climbs and a further climb towards the finish.

The race moves into the Alps later in the week, and concludes in Turin on Sunday, May 29.

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