'We couldn't have wished for a better start!' - Sivakov reflects on first two stages
Team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart agreed, and lauded Sky’s strategy with pre-race favourites Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) vying for a winning move while closing in on the final of the race’s longest (178.7km) — and arguably toughest — stage.
“We played a good tactic, the two strongest guys got isolated, they both had team-mates up front who could have won,” explained Geoghegan Hart. “I had a team-mate who could win, so it was perfect. Today was the main day for differences.
"We got the breakaway and Astana wanted to play their numbers and had six there. In the end we had two better guys and the group went away.”
Sivakov was able to join the lead group following the descent off the category one climb, Jaufen Pass (2094m elevation), before attacking on the final 3km rise to the finish. According to Geoghegan Hart there is nothing but appreciation and support despite the two not always being on the same page.
“There was a bit of misunderstanding at certain points,” admitted Hart. “It’s not easy when there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I wanted to say to him: ‘the payback came pretty fast.’
“I think he understands that. I’m happy.”
With Sky currently in control, Geoghegan Hart is cautiously optimistic considering the chance of another leadership change in the remaining three stages.
“You never know, these small races always go on its head but we’ll see,” said the 24-year-old Brit, who crossed the line 14 seconds behind Majka and Nibali, and 43 seconds off the winner.
“Now we have the leader’s jersey with big day done and actual timer gaps. We’ll see how it goes.”