Sir Dave Brailsford did not hide his delight after Sky finished third on stage four of the Tour de France, a team time trial in Nice, this afternoon.
Sky completed the 25-kilometre course just three seconds slower than stage winners Orica-GreenEdge and although Chris Froome gained time over all his rivals, Brailsford was relieved that his team would not have to defend the yellow jersey in the forthcoming stages.
When asked if it was better to have missed out on the maillot jaune, he replied: "100 per cent, 100 per cent. I shouldn't really punch the air when there's two seconds, it's like you're celebrating someone else winning.
"I think the important thing given the crashes and everything else is that we're not too far away in terms of time differences come the end.
"They [the riders] all felt they did a good second split; that was always the intention as we try to ride a faster second half of the race and I think we did that. Coming into the cross headwind down the promenade, they were really motoring so fair play to the lads. As always, they think they could have gone faster.
"We've got nine guys left in the race, we've done a decent team time trial so we've got to be very, very happy compared to where we were 48 hours ago."
Brailsford also praised Geraint Thomas, who completed turns at the front of the Sky train and was only dropped with one kilometre remaining despite suffering from a fractured pelvis following a stage one crash.
"All credit to Geraint. He was going to sit at the back, but the next thing he's going through [to the front]. Credit to him, that takes some bottle," said Brailsford.
Tour de France 2013: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Tour de France 2013: The Big Preview
Thank you for reading 5 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
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Liv Macha Pro review: I just can’t stop looking at my feet
Liv's new flagship shoes are super stiff, lightweight and so very eye-catching
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
CW LIVE: B & B Hotels, team expected to sign Mark Cavendish, collapses; Bahrain Victorious teases new kit; Chris Froome warns of the dangers of Covid-19; L39ion of Los Angeles announce 2023 roster and Tom Pidcock's cyclo-cross calendar confirmed
All the news that's fit to print in the world of cycling
By Tom Thewlis • Published