In a race where every second counts – Simon Gerrans’ 2012 victory was achieved through count-back after he and Alejandro Valverde recorded equal times – it was not the best start for Team Sky to see team leader Richie Porte lose four seconds in stage one after being caught behind a split in the leading group. Having, as ever, put riders on the front of the bunch throughout the day, their efforts got the better of them in the final kilometres.
A quick re-think clearly happened overnight however, as the British team opted to spend much of today tucked in the bunch – happy to let Orica-GreenEDGE drive the momentum instead. Much fresher this time out, it allowed first Philip Deignan to attack on the final lap, before Ian Stannard and then Porte followed suit in a bid to drop their GC rivals. While the tactic did not succeed this time, and Geraint Thomas found himself well back in the leading group after being caught behind a crash, at least it showed some thinking had occurred and both Thomas and Porte will remain hopeful of challenging overall.