Geraint Thomas described his third place overall at Tirreno-Adriatico as ‘bittersweet’ as he was left to reflect on what could have been had be not suffered from a badly-timed mechanical that saw him lose the race lead.
The Welshman put in a strong performance during Tirreno-Adriatico’s final time trial around San Benedetto Del Tronto on Tuesday to move ahead of former Team Sky team-mate Mikel Landa (Movsitar) and elevate himself to a podium position.
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However, had it not been for a jammed chain on stage four – the race’s main climbing stage – that saw him lose the race lead and significant time over his rivals, it could have been Thomas stood on the top step rather than team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski.
“After the back luck on the mountain stage it’s nice to get back on the podium,” said Thomas after the final stage.
“It’s still bittersweet in a way, as when you’re in the position I was in you want to win. A lot of people have said ‘don’t worry, your hard work will pay off and your luck will change’ – but I still want to win this race.”
However disappointed he felt, Thomas said the loss of the lead had to be put ‘into perspective’ as he reflected on the death of Michele Scarponi in a training ride collision last year.
“That’s the way it goes, but also you’ve got to put it into perspective. Finishing (stage five) where Michele Scarponi came from really brings it home. It is just a bike race.”
“It’s been a good week for the team. Good job to Kwiato for finishing it off, and having us both on the podium is a nice way to finish.”
It is the second stage race of 2018 that Kwiatkowski has won after Thomas had been in the lead. He clinched the overall victory in the Volta ao Algarve after taking the final stage victory from an escape, taking the lead away from Thomas.
Kwiatkowski commiserated with Thomas after Tirreno, but equally hailed the team effort that helped to propel him to the win – Team Sky’s first victory in Tirreno-Adriatico.
“I’m happy me and G [Thomas] could finish on the podium. I know he had some back luck but at the end of the day we played it tactically really well,” said Kwiatkowski. “It was a really good race, straight from the start in the team time trial.”
As well as two podium places overall, new Sky signing Jonathan Castroviejo placed third in the time trial behind stage winner Rohan Dennis (BMC), with Sky’s Gianni Moscon in fifth.
Tipped to put in a good performance in the final time trial, Tour de France and Vuelta a España winner Chris Froome completed a relatively quiet outing in the race with 11th in the TT, and 34th overall.