Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford describes Tour de France stage two as 'real challenge'
Last Updated: 01/06/14 2:35pm
Sir Dave Brailsford has described the second stage of this year's Tour de France in Yorkshire as a "real challenge" and admitted not losing time to rivals will be a priority for Team Sky.
The day takes the riders on a 201km route from York to Sheffield and includes five categorised climbs inside a demanding final 60km.
The potential for early gaps in the general classification will be further exacerbated by the fact that key sections of the stage will also be played out on narrow and twisting roads that could be prone to crashes.
Brailsford, who is the Team Sky principal, is planning an assault on a third consecutive Tour win for the British squad and second in a row for Chris Froome, and believes it will be more important to survive on stage two than thrive.
'Position is key'
He told Sky Sports News: "A lot of people have gone down to look at the key stages of the start of the race because they are trickier than they look on paper. They have narrow roads, they are difficult stages that you are not going to gain a lot of time on, but you could quite easily lose it if you are not attentive.
"The second stage represents a real challenge, so position is key, but then everyone will think position is key and everyone will be trying to be at the front of the race. So it is going to be a real battle, with the nervousness that you always get at the start of the Tour.
"You have to think where do you win and lose time, and mostly you gain time at very small windows of opportunity, which tend to be at tops of mountains. Then the rest you try not to lose time basically."
All the guys know what it takes to support the team leader and when we get to sitting down and looking at the squad and selecting the final team, we will pick the best team to try and compete and support.
Sir Dave Brailsford
As well as researching the stages, Brailsford is also finalising the composition of Team Sky's nine-man team for the Tour. Froome will once again be the leader and Richie Porte is expected to be his chief support rider, but the other eight names in the line-up have yet to be confirmed.
The biggest decision Brailsford and his fellow Team Sky coaches will have to make is over Sir Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour winner, who is keen to be selected and staked his claim to a place by finishing in the top ten at Paris-Roubaix in April and then winning the Tour of California earlier this month.
Brailsford added: "As far as the Tour de France team, that team is not selected yet and we will select that in a few weeks. At that point, we will select the best possible team.
"All the guys know what it takes to support the team leader and when we get to sitting down and looking at the squad and selecting the final team, we will pick the best team to try and compete and support."
The Tour de France starts in Leeds on July 5 and ends in Paris on July 27.