Geraint Thomas lost a handful of seconds to his teammate Egan Bernal on stage three of the Tour de France.
Julian Alaphilippe stormed into the yellow jersey as he attacked on the final categorised climb of Monday's 215km stage from Binche to Epernay.
"We really had to bust a gut today," Thomas said. "I did feel OK, though. I think this stage will be good for me in the long run.
"I felt OK really, considering that short steep climbs aren't necessarily what I love. But yeah, I think we rode well as a team, we were always in good position and communicating really well, so it's a good day.
"I wasn't dancing up the climbs but it was OK. I didn't really do more than had to be done."
With an individual time trial to come next week there is no immediate cause for concern, but Thomas will be eager to avoid a repeat of what he was able to do to Chris Froome last year, picking up small increments of time until he emerged as Team Sky's clear leader.
Thomas ended the day seventh in the nascent general classification standings, 45 seconds down on yellow with the Colombian Bernal in sixth, 40 seconds off Alaphilippe.