In the first of a three-part season review we take a detailed look back at 2018 – arguably Team Sky’s best year to date.

The traditional season opener at the Tour Down Under in January saw Egan Bernal make his debut as a WorldTour pro and the young Colombian looked instantly at home. Coming home fifth atop Willunga Hill, Bernal finished in sixth place overall and secured the young rider jersey.

That momentum was carried through to Colombia as Team Sky journeyed to South America in February to compete for the first time at Colombia Oro y Paz. On the eve of the race our riders swept the Colombian national championships, with Bernal winning the time trial and Sergio Henao defending his road race title. The inaugural Oro y Paz saw incredible crowds and a youthful Team Sky lineup featuring three Colombians did not disappoint. Some audacious final day tactics saw Bernal snatch overall victory in Manizales beneath the Torre de Chipre. A new star had arrived.
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The European season also got under way, with Ruta del Sol producing some early season success. Wout Poels bagged a stage win and led the race for two days before eventually finishing second overall. New signing David de la Cruz also opened his account with the team, winning the final time trial. Chris Froome also got his year under way in Spain, finishing 10th as he began to build towards the Giro d’Italia.
 
The Volta ao Algarve has been a happy hunting ground for Team Sky and Michal Kwiatkowski made it a fourth overall win for the team in Portugal. The Pole claimed two stage successes, with a third going to Geraint Thomas. G led his first race of the year for three days before eventually settling for second behind his teammate in a dominant 1-2 finish.
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The opening weekend of the Classics is always a significant point in the season and it was Lukasz Wisniowski who proved to be the team’s leading light in Belgium. The Pole took an impressive second place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and backed that up 24 hours later with eighth spot at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
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As March arrived the stage race calendar ramped up a notch. Paris-Nice 2018 will go down as a painful memory of what could have been for Wout Poels. The Dutchman superbly won the stage four time trial and was lying second, within striking distance of the win, when he crashed out on the descent of the Cote de la Colle sur Loup. X-rays revealed a broken collarbone for Poels. David de la Cruz repeated his final stage win into Nice from 2017, and in doing so elevated himself up to ninth overall. 

Success at Tirreno-Adriatico has proved elusive for Team Sky over the years but 2018 finally produced a victory in the ‘Race of Two Seas’. In a talent-stacked squad it was Michal Kwiatkowski who prevailed and lifted the trident trophy. The Pole was able to edge into the lead on stage five and pad out his advantage in the final TT. That final stage also saw Geraint Thomas jump up onto the final podium in third.
Kwiatkowski wins Tirreno-Adriatico

Kwiatkowski wins Tirreno-Adriatico

Egan Bernal was back in action at the Volta a Catalunya and seemingly the only rider who could live with a dominant Alejandro Valverde. Sitting second heading into the final day, Bernal had followed an acceleration from the race leader on the final Montjuic circuit in Barcelona, but went down hard on the descent after a rider crashed in front of him. His race ended on the spot. Collarbone and shoulder fractures were the result during an at times bruising season for Bernal. But the young starlet would not be out for long.
 
Your first pro victory is a moment every rider will always remember. For Chris Lawless that day arrived at Settimana Coppi e Bartali. The young Brit claimed victory in a reduced bunch sprint on stage three into Crevalcore, and his win formed part of a successful week for the team. Victory in the team time trial helped lay the foundations for Diego Rosa to capture overall victory – and with it his first GC win.
Lawless wins stage 3 - Settimana Coppi e Bartali

Lawless wins stage 3 - Settimana Coppi e Bartali

Lawless was back on the podium in April after sprinting to third place at Scheldeprijs. That race was nestled between two huge Monument Classics in the form of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Results didn’t go the team’s way in 2018 on the cobbles. Dylan van Baarle battled back from a crash to finish 12th in Flanders and was also the our best placed rider at Roubaix. Crashes and bad luck conspired against the team at the Hell of the North.
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Bernal wins stage 3 - Tour de Romandie

Bernal wins stage 3 - Tour de Romandie

For Chris Froome the Giro d’Italia was edging closer, and targeting two Grand Tours meant the Brit was in somewhat uncharted territory at the Tour of the Alps. Fourth place provided a good gauge of form for the Brit, who would enter the Giro with just 17 race days in his legs.
 
Back following his Catalunya crash and injuries, the Tour de Romandie was supposed to be a training exercise for Egan Bernal. Yet the Colombian continued to shine, winning the stage three uphill TT on the way to second place on GC. That same time trial proved to be a character-building one for Geraint Thomas. Dropping 2:33 on the day, it would provide a valuable lesson and motivation for the Welshman ahead of the Tour de France. 
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Stay tuned for part two and a pair of memorable Grand Tours, a titanic comeback, some California dreaming and a summer to remember!

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