Sky hail 'dream' debut

1-2 finish in Tour Down Under prelude

Team Sky on Monday hailed a "dream" debut on the professional cycling tour as they aim to produce Britain's first ever Tour de France winner.

Team manager Sean Yates said the one-two finish in Sunday's street race in Adelaide, a 51-kilometre (32 mile) Tour Down Under prelude, endorsed the big-budget outfit's stringent preparations.

"It's a dream start. Obviously we don't want to get carried away. Yesterday was yesterday, it was a 50-kilometre criterium, we had a plan and we did what we did to win it," he told AFP. "Tomorrow will be another day, a different scenario, a different type of race. We know it won't be the same. We'll try again to work as a unit and do the best we can.

"Yesterday the best we could do won us the race, tomorrow it might not. The day after it might not, Tour de France it might not. But you can't do better than to give it 100 percent."

Sky's riders reeled in American legend Lance Armstrong and fellow Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro with three laps to go before outstripping HSC-Columbia's sprint specialist Andre Greipel on the home straight.

New Zealand's Greg Henderson took the win followed by Australian team-mate Chris Sutton, with Germany's Greipel third and Armstrong halfway down the field.

The team, backed by broadcaster Sky TV, have built on Britain's track success at Beijing 2008 to create a talented roster headed by triple Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, who was fourth in last year's Tour de France.

Yates said it was too early to know whether Sky would be in a position to challenge for this year's French race, the blue-riband event of the cycling calendar.

"We've got Bradley Wiggins in the team and last year he got fourth place so in theory we should be able to repeat that if not better," Yates said.

"But theory's one thing, reality's another. The aim is for our riders to give it what they've got and if that's not good enough to win us the race, there's nothing we can do."

The six-stage Tour Down Under, the southern hemisphere's biggest race which attracts hundreds of thousands of fans, starts on Tuesday in hills around Adelaide.

© AFP 2010

For full resullts, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

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