Clouds gather at Team Sky

Bad week for the Brit super-squad

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This week’s good news is that Chris Froome is back on his bike and training. The bad news is that Geraint Thomas fell off his Pinarello and needed to abandon Paris-Nice while sitting second overall. Meanwhile in Italy, Team Sky’s mixed fortunes continued with Richie Porte quitting Tirreno-Adriatico with a sickness bug.

After Froome scored a repeat win in the Tour of Oman and then Ian Stannard’s epic victory in Het Nieuwsblad, it had been business as usual for the Sky super-squad before a succession of illnesses, injuries and crashes made this a week to forget. Hopefully it’s just a hiccup, no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

“We’re used to it,” said team boss Dave Brailsford. “We have pressure and scrutiny from media and public. It’s not anything new and it comes with the job.”

Sky are playing down Froome’s injury, describing it as a slight inflammation to the sacroiliac joint in the lower back. Brailsford said that the Tour champ’s break from racing was only a precautionary measure, although some newspapers were suggesting there was more to it.

“I heard he’s having an operation,” said Brailsford sarcastically. “That’s what happens. It’s a little something, then the next thing he’s in a wheelchair and he’s going to the Paralympic Games.”

Expect Sky to be back to full strength for the Tour of Catalonia stage race next week, with Froome ably supported by Porte in the next big clash of the season.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly