Team Sky survived a “dreadful day” in the Tour of Flanders today in Belgium, which saw Geraint Thomas crash and Edvald Boasson Hagen fade on the Kwaremont climb.

“I think we had a pretty dreadful day, really,” Sky’s performance manager, Rod Ellingworth explained. “The lads did everything they could.”

Boasson Hagen held on for 17th placed in the main group, 1-39 behind winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard). Thomas finished further back at 2-49 minutes in 41st place.

‘Bad timing’

Thomas started the race as team leader. Bernhard Eisel was recovering from a bug and Mat Hayman fell sick overnight.

Thomas remained in the thick of the action as the race developed along with Boasson Hagen, the team’s second leader. However, a crash after the second Kwaremont ascent put him in a bad spot.

“I was feeling good. It’s one of those things. It’s one of those racing crashes, it’s just bad timing really,” Thomas said.

“It was five-and-a-half hours of concentrating, being in the right place at the right time but it can all go in 10 seconds.”

Thomas hit the deck when riders in the peloton swerved. Salvatore Puccio waited and pulled him back to the group, but it was a mad and costly chase ahead of the Paterberg and final circuit.

“I didn’t expect him to come back,” sports director, Servais Knaven added. “Puccio waited for him and brought him back. He had the legs but that effort was too much five kilometres before the [Paterberg].”

Over to Eddy

“Eddy” Boasson Hagen carried Sky’s flag going into the final Kwaremont climb. When Fabian Cancellara revved up to ride free, he sat third wheel behind Peter Sagan (Cannondale). However, the first two rode clear, and the Norwegian Champion faded.

“I was in the right place but the legs weren’t there. It was too hard for me,” Boasson Hagen explained. “Of course you want to follow but it was no possible.”

Ellingworth added, “Edvald was well positioned to go with Fabian and Sagan, so I think that was good in that it showed that he wasn’t in the wrong place and we were asking questions. Just simply, he just couldn’t do it.”

Bright side

The bright side is that Sky has raced the cobbles campaign well up to this point. Its leaders today were ready to play for the victory, but a crash put Thomas on the back foot. Boasson Hagen simply was unable to follow, but that was the same for everyone else, barring Peter Sagan.

“Edvald is going really well, but maybe we have to admit that Fabian and Sagan at that moment were going better,” said Knaven. “If you’re in the wheel and they drop you, they are better – you have to admit it.”

They turn their attention to Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. Eisel and Hayman should be feeling better. Joined by Ian Stannard, they will chase a cobbled classics win before the campaign closes.

  • Tom McGuinntess

    Well ….yes Sky did what it said on the tin. I SHOULDbe a happy Teddy with having a British tdf winner etc etc BUT I am not happy with whom it is AND even less happy that he is not going to defend the title.. Lets be clear about this, Froome could have taken that title with EASE. And would E WAS ALREADY PROTECTEDbe defending it this year, with a great chance of us having a double champion
    JuWiggins knows that the win was taken from Froome and he knows that Froome is sooooo much better than he is. I also do not like the way that he failed Cavendish yet AGAIN. Before the some
    “Wiggites” start bleating just give a Thought to the TWO Olympics that he let Cavendish down on AND how quite unnecessarily he kept the whole team around him so that Cavendish had to jump on other teams trains to get a couple of sprints. I counted at least another twice that Cavendish could have been given even TWO guys to help him but no, ” we have to protect Wiggins” He was already protected. Anyway my prediction, he won’t win the Giro. Cavendish lit up cycling to the people who were uninitiated to our great sport. I am lucky to have been around cycling for quite a number of decades, some might even remember me. Happy pedal pushing. Tom

  • TG

    How boring would it be if SKY won everything? It’s great to see British riders doing well, but it would be better if they were dotted around the other teams, like Dan Martin or Steve Cummings.

  • gg/gg

    @rob It’s an old saying; but let’s not be pedantic. Yes they have achieved more than I thought they would and despite what some bloggers say on another (international) site they are clean. There team work and bonding appears to be first class.

  • rob

    @gg/gg – eh?

    Ummm, sorry to be a pedant but your cliche is wrong. Cyclists pedal, not walk.

    But, more importantly, do you not think that they have achieved what they said they would? You know, like winning the TdF, clean, within 5 years of the team’s launch.

    Just saying.

  • Sam

    gg/gg: sure I remember similar comments after their first season in 2010. This year’s clearly not going to be their breakthrough on the cobbles, but I wouldnt be so quick to dismiss for the future.

  • dai bananas brother

    Equally dreadful is that bloke on the european station. Dai’s missus thought he had taken speaking lessons but he was back to his old routine of giggles, whoooos and remarks along the lines of ‘one of my favourite riders…..etc. We do not wish to put up with this verbal garbage, so that’s it Why these people will not give out information on the riders and the places the race passes through beggars belief. The sooner that S4C gains rights to show bike racing the better, then we can delight to Huw Llewelyn Davies and Dai Jones and get away from the ranting egos.

  • JD

    The classics just don’t bend to team power. The roads are too narrow, the climbs too sudden, the racing to unpredictable. You need to have individuals.

    But look at Milan-Sanremo – Stannard was up there so there is hope.

  • gg/gg

    You know Sky, that to talk the talk you have to walk the walk.