Geraint Thomas on Friday completed victory in the Tour of the Alps stage race to show his form ahead of the Giro d’Italia.
Team Sky’s Thomas triumphed in the five-day race, previously known as the Giro del Trentino, to take one of the biggest wins of his career.
The 30-year-old Welshman is slated to lead Team Sky, along with Spain’s Mikel Landa, at the Giro, which begins on May 5 on Sardinia and finishes in Milan on May 28.
France’s Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won Friday’s fifth stage, the 199-kilometres from Smarano to Trento, but had to settle for second overall, seven seconds behind Thomas, who was third on the day.
It was Team Sky’s third successive overall victory in the race after Richie Porte’s 2015 win and Landa’s triumph last year.
Thomas said: “Tour of the Alps is a beautiful and hard race, and now I feel it was certainly the ideal choice to race it ahead of the Giro d’Italia.
“Taking the race and managing to defend a lead for two days was certainly a morale boost and a good indication for the Giro, but a three-week race is an all different story.
“At the Giro I could take advantage of time-trials, provided that I haven’t lost too much efficiency in the quest to improve on climbs, but it’s hard to tell how I could perform on something like the final day of the Giro.”