Sky's result in the Giro d'Italia team time trial in Verona yesterday was less than the team's riders and staff had hoped. Ahead of the race, they talked about the stage as one it could win along with the opening time trial and sprints.
"We'll try for the sprints," said Mark Cavendish ahead of the Giro, "but we have a prologue Geraint [Thomas] can win, we have a team time trial we can win. Across the board, we have a strong team."
Thomas nearly ticked off the opening time trial box, coming in just nine seconds slower than Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing), and Cavendish delivered with a sprint win on day two. The time trial, coming in at ninth, though, was off target for a team steeped in talent.
The damage? A half-minute loss to winners Garmin-Barracuda and a chance at the pink jersey for Thomas. He started the day in second overall only nine seconds behind leader Phinney, but ended it in seventh, 21 seconds back on Garmin's Ramunas Navardauskas.
"Not spectacular, obviously by the time," team coach, Bobby Julich told Cycling Weekly of the team's performance.
The team featured Thomas and Pete Kennaugh, who helped win the Worlds team pursuit gold medal last month. It lacked Ben Swift, winner of scratch world title, who crashed in training ahead of the Giro.
"Having Jez [Jeremy Hunt] come in so close, last minute. He wasn't up to snuff, but the rest of the team, really solid," Julich explained.
"It was tough losing that ninth guy so early, that gives the other guys a bigger work load and they have to make up for that."
The television feed focused on BMC Racing, who rode to protect Phinney's lead. Asked when Hunt lost ground with his companions, Julich responded, "pretty early. Really early, actually."
Motormen Bernhard Eisel and Ian Stannard did long turns near the final of the 33.2 kilometres. Eisel first at four kilometres out and Stannard next at three kilometres out, just as the course wove into Verona's historic centre.
Julich said there was couple of minor mistakes with pulling off in the rotation and one near crash. Some riders, he said, had to sit on longer when going through "bad patches".
He praised the work of Cavendish, who crashed in the final 250 metres on Monday's stage.
"We did the team time trailing yesterday, and you wouldn't have even known he crashed until you looked down at him with all the bandages because he hasn't said a word," added Julich. "He loves doing these things, he's totally switched on, he's the rider/coach on the road for these guys."
Cavendish will have a chance to reverse Sky's fortunes today, a flat run to Fano along the country's east coast.
Giro d'Italia 2012: Latest news
Phinney's terrible day sees Giro lead slip away
Teams ready for Giro's team time trial
Phinney given all-clear after Giro crash
Ferrari should be ashamed of Giro sprint, says Cavendish
Giro remembers Wouter Weylandt
Cavendish and Thomas a winning combo, says Brailsford
Geraint Thomas narrowly misses out on Giro lead
Phinney realises Giro dream
Giro d'Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d'Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d'Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Giro d'Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d'Italia 2012 start list
Giro d'Italia 2012: TV guide
Giro d'Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: The Big Preview
Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia section
Giro d'Italia 2012: Older news items
Thomas and Phinney talk Giro d'Italia time trial
Kennaugh enters Giro with least amount of racing miles
Cavendish faces first Grand Tour as World Champ and father
Frank Schleck's last minute Giro adventure
Swift out of Giro after training crash
Giro d'Italia 2012: Who will win?
Sky to battle for Giro's team time trial
Hesjedal aims for Giro win
Giro d'Italia 2012: Start list
Cavendish, Thomas, Kennaugh, Swift and Stannard for Giro
Giro d'Italia 2012: Jerseys unveiled
Giro d'Italia organiser announces wildcard teams for 2012
Giro d'Italia 2012 route revealed
Thank you for reading 20 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