Strong start at Coppi e Bartali

23 Mar 2017

Strong start at Coppi e Bartali

Team Sky enjoyed a strong opening split day at Coppi e Bartali with two podium finishes on stages 1a and 1b.

First up Elia Viviani won the bunch sprint at the end of the opening 97.8km stage, but he had to settle for third place after Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo - Vital Concept) took the win. He had escaped the peloton’s clutches with Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) and the pair contested the stage win, 19 seconds ahead of the sprinters.

Then our team time trial quartet of Viviani, Ian Boswell, Jon Dibben and Tao Geoghegan Hart produced a fine ride to finish second in 14 minutes and 59 seconds, just two seconds back on winners CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

That result pushed Viviani up to second overall, 10 seconds behind the early race leader Calmejane. Geoghegan Hart also pulled on the young rider's jersey.

With just four riders allowed in a team David Lopez and Kenny Elissonde battled round the 13.3km course as a duo and finished in 15’54”.

After the action caught up with Geoghegan Hart, who, along with Boswell, is the team’s co-leader in Italy.
Reflecting on a tough first day, he said: "It was a long day for riders and staff. We left the hotel at 7am and we’re just coming back now, at 5pm. It’s been busy, but it was an interesting race this morning, then a fast and furious team time trial this afternoon.
"The first couple of kilometres were pretty technical, but the last 10 minutes were pretty quick. There was a bit of crosswind which gave us something else to think about it, but it was pretty fast.”
A bunch sprint was expected in the morning and yet the peloton never brought the day’s break back.
“It was a weird race,” Tao continued. "A lot of teams in the bunch had thoughts on the TTT. No one really wanted to commit to bringing the break back. It was one of those days when it looked like it was close, but the bunch never went full gas to bring it back.
“We’re a bit disappointed not to pick up two wins really, but we’ve still left ourselves in a good position for the next few days. We’ve got a few chances to come.”
It’s Tao’s first opportunity to lead Team Sky, and he was quick to thank the team for giving him the opportunity.
“It’s really nice to have the support of the team - I’m really grateful for that. It’s also really nice to race with Ian and go for it together. We can play our cards and be aggressive over the next few days.
“The aim is to get stuck in and use it as an opportunity to get a result for the both of us.”