RBA/AFP – Sky dominated the team time trial on the third stage of the Dauphine du Criterium on Wednesday, rolling at a record average of 57kmh (35mph) with a tailwind over the flat 35km course.
Sky’s Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski, victim of a crash on Tuesday, regained the race leader’s yellow jersey and now leads three teammates in the overall standings: Italian Gianni Moscon (at 3sec), Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo (9) and Welshman Geraint Thomas (21).
Celebrations Wednesday were a far cry from the end of the previous day which saw Kwiatkowski crash in the closing kilometres and the race leader was pleased he suffered no ill effects.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to win as a team. We rode a perfect stage, technically and tactically, on the entire course,” the Pole said. “I’m so happy that I got no major issues after the crash yesterday. If I could have picked up one stage win in the Dauphine, I’d like it to be the TTT. “It’s a wonderful feeling to win as a team. We rode a perfect stage, technically and tactically, on the entire course.”
The Sky outfit finished a whopping 37sec ahead of second-placed BMC, with Lotto in third, at 52sec, and Australian team Mitchelton in fourth (56).
Thomas called Team Sky’s effort “fluid and fast”. “It’s probably one of Team Sky’s best time trials ever,” he said. “Now we have four hard stages ahead of us and we’ll see how it goes. But we’ll defend the jersey. We’ve got several cards to play but it’ll still be difficult to win, that’s for sure.”
Thursday’s 181km fourth stage runs from Chazey-sur-Ain to Lans-en Vercors and features a gruelling climb of the Col du Mont Noir and steep ascent into Vercors.