Geraint Thomas knew what it would take to win the Volta ao Algarve, having claimed victory 12 months ago, but heading into the 2016 race as the clear team leader led to a lot more pressure on his shoulders.
Last year, Team Sky's Thomas teamed up with Richie Porte as joint leaders, but with the Australian coming off a strong performance at the Tour Down Under Thomas could have slipped under the radar a little.
But as the team's sole leader - especially after the late withdrawal of Michal Kwiatkowski - Thomas says he felt the pressure more second time round.
"I didn’t know what to expect coming here. I’ve had the longest off-season ever – about five weeks completely off the bike – so to come here and win again is really nice," he said after the final stage.
"This year I had more pressure, coming here as the leader of the team and as the previous winner. Last year I was with Richie Porte as a second leader, so it was a bonus to win. So to come here and have the boys riding for me is really nice."
In an interview with BBC Wales, Thomas admitted the win was a nice confidence boost for him heading into Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo. But although many have tipped him as a future Grand Tour champion, the Welshman is happy to play the teammate at this year's Tour de France.
"The plan for me is to go to the Tour de France in the best shape possible to help [Chris] Froome," he said. "If I can look after myself a little better than last year and get a result myself then that’ll be really good, but the main thing is to win with Froome."
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
Going virtual: An 'outdoor' cyclist tries Zwift and indoor riding for the first time
After holding out against it for years, one Cycling Weekly writer finally braves the world of online cycling, with mixed results
By Adam Becket • Published
How I dropped the weight and won a Tour de France time trial
Our new Lifetime Achievement award winner reveals how a move to Nice in the south of France helped lift his career to the next level
By James Shrubsall • Published
Geraint Thomas: 'I'm the best footballer at Ineos Grenadiers'
The Welsh cyclist shares his views on the World Cup, Arsenal's title chances and his own football skills
By Tom Davidson • Published
Ineos Grenadiers sign their first female rider
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot reported to be joining new Ineos mountain bike team, alongside Tom Pidcock
By Adam Becket • Published