Team Sky is hoping it’s ‘perfect work’ will result in a Giro d’Italia win for Ben Swift. Coach Rod Ellingworth explained this morning that the black train is on track but that it will need some luck to beat Marcel Kittel.
That luck came just a few hours later when the German announced via his Twitter feed that he would not start the fourth stage due to a fever.
“They worked perfectly and did a damn good job,” Ellingworth told Cycling Weekly, referring the sprint two days ago in Dublin. “They are just going to have to keep trying.”
Sky took charge on Sunday at the end of a wet and fan-lined stage from Northern Ireland to the Republic in Dublin. Salvatore Puccio, Bernie Eisel, CJ Sutton and Edvald Boasson Hagen led Swift to the line in the final five kilometres.
‘Eddy’ Boasson Hagen charged ahead and took Swift through a tricky S-bend at 300 metres out. They left favourite Kittel behind, but could not stop him from re-mounting and flying past.
Swift said, “I thought I had it, but Kittel went so fast in the end.”
Kittel collapsed to the ground after his effort. Sky’s riders, a mix of climbers and flat-landers, rode back to the bus and cooled down while on their trainers.
“We don’t have a train like Giant-Shimano,” said Ellingworth. “The team has a dedicated train, with about seven out of nine riders for Kittel. We’ve got a slightly smaller one with a few GC guys and climbers.”
Dario Cataldo placed 12th overall twice in the Giro d’Italia. Sky signed him to help its overall contenders like Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Richie Porte. Without the stars in this Giro, he and Kanstantsin Siutsou will be free to ride for themselves.
Before the high mountains, the Giro’s cyclists face more flat stages. They should suit Swift or Boasson Hagen. Today’s stage to Bari, a late start after a long transfer, ends at the seaside with eight circuits. Swift should have his chance to win again.
“We are just going to keep chipping away. We came here to win and we’re just going to keep trying.