One week in to the racing life of Team Sky and the British team has already notched up two wins and a podium finish on general classification.
Chris Sutton lead a Sky one – two on the final stage in Adelaide today, book ending a week of racing that also saw Greg Henderson finish third overall at the Tour Down Under behind André Greipel and Luis Leon Sanchez.
“If you’d told me that’s what we’d come away with when we got on the plane to come down here I’d have taken it with both hands,” Brailsford said. “There’s a lot of learning to be done, but it’s a great start and we’ll go home on a high.”
“It’s a steep learning curve, and from my point of view we’re starting to establish the things we don’t know. there are certainly things that we have learned this week.”
Brailsford also admitted to being frustrated at the constant speculation over the budget he has at his disposal. During Sunday’s circuit race in the centre of Adelaide, the announcer told the crowd that Sky’s budget was $54m (about £30m). “Everyone tries to big us up in terms of budget. We may circulate the UCI list,” said Brailsford.
“We’re sixth in the league table. It’s a total myth and we’ll try and put that right by providing some facts. It doesn’t do us any favours.”
Brailsford also reminded the press that as a new team, Sky remained the underdogs, regardless of budget. “The guys have done tremendously well, but we’ve got some work to do, it’s another level.”
“Russell [Downing] spent all last year racing in the UK, for him it’s another level – we’ve got to adapt to that and move on.”
Downing, along with Ben Swift, came to Australia after a week of training indoors on a static trainer thanks to the British weather. “I had some difficult days at the start, and I don’t think I came here with the right condition,” Swift said. “But that was the weather back home. Hopefully now I’ve had a good workload, I’ll rest up and I’ll be okay. This definitely wasn’t a holiday.”
Even without the best preparation, Swift used his team pursuiting knowledge to slot in to the Sky lead-out train. “Today was perfect. It was a much smoother effort throughout team, everyone did a perfect job. It’s what we planned all week.”
Tour Down Under 2010: Race reports
Tour Down Under, stage five: Sanchez wins stage five as Greipel clings on
Tour Down Under, stage four: Greipel takes his hat-trick
Tour Down Under, stage three: Cardoso takes win ahead of Valverde
Tour Down Under, stage two: Greipel takes win number two
Tour Down Under, stage one: Greipel takes back sprint crown
Cancer Council Helpline Classic: Team Sky off to perfect start as Henderson wins
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Tour Down Under 2010: Related links
Armstrong surprises field with late attack on TDU stage four
Tour Down Under 2010: Photo galleries