Tour de France star has Chris Froome promised to turn himself “inside out” for Sky team-mate Pavel Sivakov, who is currently leading the Tour of the Alps overall.
Sivakov won stage two and on Wednesday, defended his lead in stage three with the help of Froome and Tao Geoghegan Hart.
Geoghegan Hart, winner of stage one, placed second in the stage in Baselga di Piné.
“I’m not feeling bad, yesterday I was just caught out on the descent but my legs don’t feel to bad,” Froome said.
“And Pavel and both Tao have done a great job this week already, picking, up a couple of stage wins and Pavel is obviously in a good place to defend the jersey. I’m going to turn myself inside out to help him.”
Sivakov leads the race by eight seconds on Jan Hirt (Astana). Geoghegan Hart sits fifth overall at 37 seconds.
Froome, who added the Tour of the Alps to his schedule to build for the 2019 Tour de France, slipped off the back of the group heading to the finish in stage two.
“I think the form’s where it needs to be at this moment in the build up to the Tour,” he added. “I’m happy with the feelings.”
Instead, Froome is pushing for his Russian team-mate. Sivakov won the under 23 Giro d’Italia and the Giro della Valle d’Aosta in 2017 before joining Team Sky. He and Geoghegan Hart are building for the Giro d’Italia next month, where they will be joined by Egan Bernal.
“For their age, both Tao and Pavel have ridden incredibly this week and I think shown a lot of maturity and I think a lot of promise for the future as well,” Froome continued.
“Lessons from me? Ha ha! I’m trying to help out where I can and at least put them in the best place to try to win this race.”
“It’s just amazing,” Sivakov said of Froome’s work. “In the final, he was really strong and neutralised all the attacks from Nibali and Majka. The only thing I had to do was follow his wheel and Tao as well was really good in the final and he could take some bonus seconds from the other GC contenders.
“Lessons learned from Froome? Yeah, I really followed the advice from Chris today. He’s been in that situation so many times leading stage races. If I had a question or whatever, I just came and asked him what to do and also in the final, when the guys started attacking. I asked him should I go and he said, ‘No no no, all under control.’ And yeah, he controlled it.”
If they win, it would be Team Sky’s last overall win. The team will welcome new sponsor Ineos on May 1 ahead of the Tour of Yorkshire.
“It’d be incredible if we could win this as the last race for us in Team Sky colours,” Froome said. “It’d be really special if we could win this race.”