Team Sky’s objective is clear ahead of the first day in the Tour de France’s high mountains: help Bradley Wiggins up the classification.
The team lost its second place overall on Saturday’s stage seven, when Geraint Thomas dropped behind the main leaders on the climb to Station des Rousses. Wiggins, though, gained three places in the classification and underscored the team’s objective for the Tour de France.
“We did everything right, we didn’t expend any more energy than we needed to,” said sports director, Sean Yates. “We didn’t lose any time with Bradley, which was the main objective.”
Wiggins is two minutes and 35 seconds behind overall leader Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), but only one minute and 10 seconds behind best place classification rider, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
Evans sits second overall, where Geraint Thomas (Sky) was placed prior to Saturday’s stage. Thomas struggled on the Croix de la Serra climb and then lost time on the final climb to Station des Rousses.
“G just couldn’t maintain his contact with the bunch,” said Yates. “Not that he would have got the yellow jersey anyway.”
Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen also suffered and lost nearly 19 minutes.
“The combination of the heat and the stress of the first week, took its toll. You could see by the size of the bunch at the finish that there were a few guys in the same boat.”
Wiggins and the rest of the Tour de France’s riders will face the race’s first high mountain stage on Sunday. The day ends with a 13.6-kilometre climb to Morzine, but also features the 14.3-kilometre Ramaz climb near the finish.
Tour de France 2010: Latest news
The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views
Thomas: ‘Yellow jersey would be unbelievable
Analysis: The role of Renshaw
Cavendish strikes back in Tour de France
Thomas happy with Tour’s white jersey; but says ‘All for Brad’
Wiggins crashes on Tour stage start
Cavendish and Farrar return to top
Cavendish keeps up fight for first Tour win
Sky delivers Boasson Hagen to third without pressure
Tour de France 2010: Stage reports
Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white
Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up
Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour
Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims
Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC
Stage three live coverage: As it happened
Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa
Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters
Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win
Tour de France 2010: Photos
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one gallery
Prologue photo gallery
Tour de France 2010: Race guide
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Official start list, with race numbers
Brits at the Tour 2010
Tout team guide
Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins