Published: 1 June 2014
Written by: Team Sky
Photo: Team Sky
Geraint Thomas wrapped up his second Bayern Rundfahrt title as Team Sky won the race for the third time in four seasons.
Thomas was never troubled on the fifth and final stage and cruised home in the front group after Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) had sprinted to victory in Nuremberg.
Vasil Kiryienka was right alongside Thomas in the heart of the peloton which meant he secured third place on the overall standings, and a hugely-productive week in Germany also saw Team Sky top the team classification.
After he came down from the podium, Thomas took time to praise his team-mates for a job well done and revealed his attentions had already turned to his next phase of the season.
“It was a tough final stage which meant the boys had to ride hard all day,” he told us. “But all I had to do was sit in behind them and have confidence that they’d finish the job for me, which they did, so all good.
“I’d done a lot of hard training before the race at our altitude training camp in Tenerife, and I was pleased to feel strong and ride hard here.
“This win has definitely boosted my confidence heading into a busy summer. I’ve got the Dauphine coming up next and then hopefully the Tour de France. It was nice to get this result but now I’m already focusing on helping Chris [Froome], and I’m really looking forward to that.”
The concluding stage was far from a procession however, and although attacks came thick and fast during the opening exchanges, it wasn’t until the first climb had been crested that nine riders eventually edged clear.
When that occurred, Team Sky immediately assumed their position at the head of the peloton and were aided by CCC Polsat, who had their own designs on the sprint.
The break were only two minutes ahead as they began the 10 laps of a fast finishing circuit, and when that lead had halved, Marcos Garcia (Caja Rural) forged on alone as the others were hauled back.
Alexander Grad (Heizomat) and Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne) bridged over to Garcia as soon as that catch had been made, but everything came back together with just over three laps to go as the sprint teams upped the pace considerably.
Not even the Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) could chip off the front - despite his best efforts in front of a vocal home crowd - and Katusha and IAM Cycling were among several teams who battled for supremacy in the hectic closing stages.
It was NetApp who stole the show however, with Bennett producing a fine late kick to pip Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R) while Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Sharp) took third.
Thomas was awarded the same time as that trio which ensured his overall victory was achieved with a 19-second cushion over Matthias Frank (IAM Cycling). Kiryienka meanwhile, was only a further 16 seconds back and Team Sky won the team classification by over a minute.
Back on the team bus, Gabriel Rasch was delighted with how his first race as a Sports Director had panned out - although ever modest - he insisted it was the riders who deserved the praise for their efforts more than him.
"It wasn't a bad start as a DS was it!" he laughed when we caught up with him. "It's been a good week and I've learned a lot. I've really enjoyed it.
"Today was a pretty hard day. Those early attacks meant we had to do a lot of work this morning and everybody played their part. Once the break went Ian [Boswell] and Christian [Knees] kept a close eye on them.
"The sprint teams helped us out at the end, but we needed Luke [Rowe] to do some work which meant he couldn't go for the sprint.
"Everything went to plan though and we're really happy. As well a G winning, it was great to see Kiry take third, and Pete [Kennaugh] and Christian in the top 15 because it shows our strength in depth.
"Those guys are all trying to get in contention for a Tour de France ride, and they've been really impressive this week - everyone has."