Cycling: Brailsford admits relief

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Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford admitted seeing Chris Froome survive a potentially hazardous second stage of the Tour de France was a relief and described Vincenzo Nibali moving into the yellow jersey as “ideal”.
Nibali claimed the overall race lead by escaping to a solo victory in Sheffield and now holds a two-second advantage over Froome and his other main rival, Alberto Contador, in the general classification.
Froome finished in a group just behind Nibali in 18th place on a day played out on narrow and twisting roads often heaving with supporters.
Brailsford, who is attempting to mastermind a third successive Tour victory, was pleased to see his lead rider avoid an accident and was made even happier by the stage result.
‘Difficult day’
He said: “It was a difficult day, challenging day with narrow roads and with so many people out there. You have got to focus and concentrate all day.
“I think they [the general classification contenders] were all concerned about not losing any time, but they were also hesitant because nobody wanted the jersey.
“So Nibali has got two seconds, but he will have to defend that now, which is pretty good for everybody else. It is ideal for us.”
Tour director Christian Prudhomme has estimated that five million people watched the race’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire over the weekend.
Although the turnout has been widely praised, fans were also criticised on Saturday’s opening stage for standing in the middle of the roads and getting too close to the peloton.
Many riders subsequently issued warnings to supporters on Twitter, but it appears they were not heeded after Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas revealed the peloton had once again been put at risk.
The Welshman said: “For sure, it was a bit dodgy at times. The worst thing is when people have got their back to the peloton taking selfies. There were a few. They don’t see us coming. They don’t realise we use every part of the road. There are a lot of us and we use every inch.
“If you are on the front [of the peloton] you can see them but if you’re two back you nearly hit them. There is not much racing on British roads and people don’t understand how fast we’re going and how close we get.”

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