Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas admitted narrowly missing out on Tour de Suisse victory hurt but the Welshman believes his performance in the race is further evidence of the huge strides he has taken.
Thomas trailed leader Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) by 34 seconds ahead of the final stage, an individual time trial after having cut the Frenchman’s advantage bit-by-bit over the preceding days.
And while his performance was enough to overhaul Pinot’s lead as Giant-Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin won the final stage, Thomas was in turn usurped by Simon Spilak (Katusha), having to settle for second place overall by just five seconds.
But Thomas – who has already won the Volta ao Algarve and E3-Harelbeke this year – hopes the result is another notch along the way on his rapid rise to the top.
“At the moment it’s still gutting to not get the win but it’s been a decent season and I think I’ve definitely made that next step up,” he told the team website. “Hopefully long may it continue.
“I think coming into the week I didn’t really know what to expect. To be so close to the win is kind of nice but it also makes it hurt a bit more. I think whenever you lose by a small margin like that you always look at your ride and try to pick holes in it and things like that.
“But I got it all out and I can be proud of how I rode all week and so can the rest of the boys in the team.”
Thomas’ second place follows hot on the heels of Chris Froome’s Criterium du Dauphine win, with both Brits now set for the Tour de France, where Froome will bid to carry on his winning form.
Sky have also seen Richie Porte win the Giro del Trentino, Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya, Froome enjoy success at the Ruta del Sol and Lars-Petter Nordhaug win the Tour de Yorkshire this season, alongside a host of stage wins and some one-day successes.
And directeur sportif Gabriel Rasch was pleased to see the eight riders selected to race in Switzerland in top form as Tour de France selection looms.
“It was definitely nerve-racking from the car behind [on the final stage] he said. “G really wanted to win and we all wanted him to win.
“The whole team were behind him. Five seconds is so close but it’s still a big, big result.
“Overall it’s been a good team performance. We’ve been riding for G, giving 100 per cent. Also to see Sergio [Henao, 11th] back at the race and getting a good result for himself, on top of working for G all week, is really nice to see.”
Tour de Suisse 2015: final result
1) Simon Spilak (SVN) – Katusha – 30.15.09hrs
2) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +5”
3) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Alpecin +19”
4) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +45”
5) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +2.21
6) Bob Jungels (LUX) – Trek Factory Racing +2.58
7) Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) – Astana +3.06
8) Steve Morabito (SUI) – FDJ +3.17
9) Robert Gesink (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo +3.19
10) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkoff-Saxo +3.20