Ineos’ Pavel Sivakov has reminded everyone it’s still a long way to go until the third week of the Tour, and that maybe people are underestimating how much work the British team have done in the build-up.
Jumbo-Visma have taken the headlines in recent weeks, dominating both stage races and one-day Classics thanks to Wout van Aert and Primož Roglič, the Slovenian winning the Tour de l’Ain ahead of Egan Bernal and now leading the Critérium du Dauphiné.
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Many are now questioning whether Ineos will be able to match them at the upcoming French Grand Tour.
“We did big blocks of training, now it’s racing, maybe we need to top up our shape in these races. Especially with Egan coming from altitude he did a really big block there. It’s still a long way to the Tour, especially the third week. We’ve really got time, we don’t need to stress and worry,” Sivakov said after stage three of the Dauphiné.
Roglič extended his GC lead to 14 seconds over Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) in the sprint for the line, second behind Davide Formolo’s stage-winning breakaway effort, while Bernal dropped to seventh overall, now 31 seconds behind the Slovenian.
“Egan had a hard day in the end but it’s not a problem, he’s here after two hard races, I’m sure he’s just fine for the Tour.”
Sivakov crossed the line in ninth at the summit finish in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, three seconds ahead of Bernal, the Russian saying he didn’t see his Colombian team-mate being dropped and that he should have maybe waited for him.
“Egan told me that he was not feeling super today so I stay with him, I tried to bring him to the final,” Sivakov said.
“In the finish, the sprint started and I didn’t see that he was dropped. I carried on and with maybe 100 metres to go, I looked back and saw that he was dropped. Maybe I should have waited for him and paced him to the final. But that’s how it is.”
Geraint Thomas finished five minutes down on stage three, detached from the front group on the final climb, and now finds himself seven minutes adrift on GC.
Meanwhile, it was another tough day for Chris Froome, who took to Instagram last night to remind everyone that he was only getting on a bike after multiple fractures last August.
He lost another 15 minutes, half an hour behind on GC in 60th place.
Today was a day off for the overall contenders, but with two more summit finishes in Mègeve on the final two stages, there is GC action to come.