Ben Swift says he missed Team Sky’s unity as he took a podium finish in the Volta a Valenciana stage two sprint.
The Brit is making his 2019 debut at the Spanish stage race after re-joining his home team at the start of the season.
>> Save up to 31% with a magazine subscription. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Team Sky charged in the closing kilometres, but were swamped by solo efforts from rival sprinters in the final turns as Swift held on to take third.
The 31-year-old said: “The guys were incredible – it’s what I’ve really missed, that real team unity.
“We waited ever so slightly too long just as we started the final push on the lead-out.”
Fellow Brit Chris Lawless was the final lead-out man supporting Swift in the final kilometre.
But sprinters Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and stage winner Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) passed the remains of the Sky lead-out heading into the final two turns, with Trentin taking the glory.
Swift added: “They came up three or four kph faster than us so it was just about trying to catch up.
“It was a really good job from the guys and the legs are feeling good.
“With Chris [Lawless] being a second year pro it’s really good experience for him to do a lead-out.
“He’s going to be the sprinter for this team in the next couple of years, so for him to learn what he needs and what he wants of a lead-out rider is good.”
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas was also working for Swift, leading the race with 10km left to race.
Thomas and team-mate Diego Rosa are the best placed Team Sky riders after stage two, both sitting 20 seconds down to race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).
Swift added: “It’s nice to get a good result.
“It shows I’ve been training pretty well and I handled the climbs really well.
“But in hindsight I wish I’d gone a little bit earlier.”
The race continues with a hilly third stage that is likely to separate the general classification further.