Team Sky enjoyed a day to remember on Thursday, winning stages at the Ruta del Sol and the Volta ao Algarve and moving into the race lead in both events, results which sports director Brett Lancaster said would give a real lift to team riders and staff.
Dutch rider Wout Poels delivered the team’s first win of the day as he put in huge acceleration in the final 300m of the summit finish on stage two of the Ruta del Sol, surging clear of Luis Leon Sanchez and Tim Wellens to move into the race lead while Chris Froome finished seventh.
Less than two hours later and another summit finish saw another Team Sky victory, with Michal Kwiatkowski winning on the Alto da Fóia at the Volta ao Algarve, while Geraint Thomas’ third place was enough to move him into the overall lead.
Lancaster is the team’s sports director at the Ruta del Sol, and said that the team had watched Kwiatkowski take victory in Portugal on the team bus after Poels had done the same in Spain.
“It’s always fantastic to win a stage like we have here and then jump on the bus and watch another one of our guys do the business,” Lancaster said.
“It doesn’t happen that often in cycling, winning two stages in one day. It lifts everyone in the team, from the guys back in the office to the riders and staff who are out on the road.
“Those sorts of days are always worth taking a moment to celebrate together.”
Both races still have one more uphill finish and an individual time trial to come, with Lancaster saying that although the team were in a good position at the Ruta del Sol, there was still a lot of work to do.
“There’s a still a way to go in terms of the overall and there are a few riders who will still have their eyes on the win, but we’re in a good position,” Lancaster continued.
“It will be interesting over the next couple of days and we’ll need to get the tactics right. Stage four is a tricky, steep little finish where time might be won and lost and then we’ll set up for the time trial on Sunday.
“There’s plenty still to come and the race is now set up really nicely.”