The 38 year old was key in Sivakov staying out of trouble in stages 17 and 18 when he used his experience to first bring a GC rival back to the peloton on Wednesday, before helping guide the young Russian rider through a technical finish on stage 18.
And while a pair of gruelling mountain stages will be a difficult test ahead of the final time trial in Verona on Sunday, Knees is upbeat about SIvakov’s chances of recording his best professional result to date.
He told TeamINEOS.com
: “First of all I have to say the young guys have done a great job so far. Pavel is going really well and considering he didn’t finish his first Grand Tour last year, before the race I am sure he would have taken where he is right now. It’s a really good situation.
“We want to defend his place and if he comes out with a top-10 finish that would be great. There are still two hard stages to come where a lot can happen but he’s looking strong and the team is looking good. We are definitely up for defending it.”