The team’s German domestique Christian Knees and cobbles specialist Luke Rowe shared pictures on Instagram of a select few Sky riders wet and muddy from a day of riding the cobbles, which will feature in the race on April 10.
To be fair, the weather on the first day of December could be similar to what it may be like in April, with the race having the reputation for challenging terrain and often horrendous weather.
While the organisers spend their time in the build up to the big race cleaning up all the cobbles, the Sky riders would have experienced the muddy, unadulterated pavé sections.
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Knees’s picture shows two of Sky’s new signings getting a taste of the action, with Gianni Moscon at the front in the green and blue kit, with Danny Van Poppel behind him in his Trek Factory Racing attire, looking a little unhappy with the wintry conditions.
Sky’s best finish in the Hell of the North Classic dates back to their first season in 2010, when Juan Antonio Flecha claimed third place behind Fabian Cancellara and Thor Hushovd.
Flecha finished fourth two years later, with Geraint Thomas’s seventh place finish the best since then. Luke Rowe was the team’s highest finisher in 2015, crossing the line in eighth place.