Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico
Football managers complain of fixture congestion, but frankly, they don’t know the half of it. Just ask Sir Dave Brailsford. When his star rider, Chris Froome, withdrew at the last minute from Tirreno-Adriatico with a back injury, the man who masterminded two British victories in the Tour de France in two consecutive years was forced suddenly to reshuffle his pack of riders.
Fortunately for Brailsford, he has a ready supply of British talent able to win the world’s most prestigious bike races. Geraint Thomas has stepped in at Paris-Nice to fill the shoes of defending champion, Riche Porte, who has taken Froome’s place in Italy. The Welshman has ridden strongly, wearing the leader’s yellow jersey for a third of the race so far, and is only three seconds off the lead with two stages remaining.
Over in Italy, it’s been a similar story of British success at Tirreno-Adriatico with Mark Cavendish spending two days in the blue jersey of race leader after winning the opening stage – for once, not in a bunch sprint, but with his colleagues in the team time trial. Another British rider with pedigree against the clock, Movistar’s Alex Dowsett, went on the attack on stage two, showing that his form is building nicely for the Giro d’Italia.