Tour de France: Sir Dave Brailsford says Team Sky learned a lot from stage nine struggle
Last Updated: 09/07/13 11:47am
Sir Dave Brailsford admitted stage nine was a learning experience for Team Sky
Sir Dave Brailsford admitted Team Sky learned a lot from their struggles on stage nine of the Tour de France.
A dramatic day of the Tour saw Sky crumble on the first of the five categorised climbs, leaving race leader Chris Froome to defend yellow all alone amid a pack of predators.
That the 28-year-old Briton did so without losing any time to the likes of Alejandro Valverde or Alberto Contador in the general classification battle was a huge positive, but Sky know they cannot leave their leader exposed in such a way again.
"You could argue, using a boxing analogy, he has taken the biggest right hook on the chin he has going to take and he didn't flinch," said team principal Sir Dave Brailsford. "You always learn more from adversity than success and we learned a lot yesterday."
Froome's performance, keeping him one minute and 25 seconds ahead of Valverde in second, only served to underline why he is the clear favourite as he showed a side to his game not seen before.
"Once I got into that front group and was isolated, it did sink in that was going to be a really long day and I'm going to have to dig in," Froome said.
"I just had to make the most of the situation I was in, try to limit any losses if there were going to be any."
Team Sky entered problems early on as Peter Kennaugh crashed dramatically, while Richie Porte was dropped and never recovered, eventually finishing more than 17 minutes down to surrender second place overall.
Vasili Kiryienka had an even worse day, suffering elimination as he was swept up by the broom wagon at the back of the pack, a key member of Froome's supporting party now out of the race.
Thomas recovering well
But Kennaugh and Porte have vowed to bounce back, while Geraint Thomas said he is feeling better and better on the cracked pelvis he suffered on the opening stage.
"It's been a tough week, probably by toughest week on a bike ever," the double Olympic gold-medallist said. "I'm feeling better every day, and [on Sunday] I had the best day so far.
"If I keep going as I am in the final week I should be able to play a strong role again. I'm up for it. We see it as a fight.
"It's like with the track and the Aussies who we have always had a rivalry with. Coming up to the London Olympics we turned it around when it mattered. I'm confident we can do the same here."