Great Britain’s Ian Stannard is relishing the chance to help make the dream start come true on the first day of competition at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Gordon Wiseman writes … Whilst the sounds and colours of the Opening Ceremony will still be fresh in the minds of many, in the Men’s Road Race the morning after, Britain has the chance of gold medal glory on the first day of competition in the Olympic Games and Ian Stannard is relishing the chance to help make that dream start come true.
Ian wins the 2012 British RR title in North Yorkshire.
The 25 year old is part of a five man squad that includes team-mates from Team Sky lead by Bradley Wiggins, Britain’s first ever winner of the Tour de France, current World Road Race Champion and multiple Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish and second in the Tour de France and Tour of Spain, Chris Froome. Scot Dave Millar (Garmin) completes the line-up.
With the other four having all just won individual stages in this year’s Tour de France and Stannard having won the British Road Race championships only four weeks ago, the Team GB line up is filled top-to-tail with on form riders. The Olympic Road Race starts and finishes on London’s Mall but will cover more than 250kms taking the riders past many of the Capital’s other iconic landmarks as it works its way to the Surrey Hills and, what all commentators and pundits alike have identified as the main feature of the race, 9 laps of a 15.5km circuit around Box Hill.
Box Hill is likely to be the point that gold medal chances will be won or lost and Stannard recognises that his job will be to help guide and lead Mark Cavendish, Team GB’s main hope for the gold medal, over each of those laps and back to London for a hoped for Gold Medal salute.
Ian (right) racing at the front in a Youth race at the Milton Keynes Bowl just ahead of a Team Sky teammate now… guesses to https://twitter.com/velouk
For Stannard, participation in the Olympic Games is only part of a remarkable athlete’s journey, a stepping stone to what he considers to be even bigger challenges that he hopes will end up with him taking winner’s honours rather than playing the team support role he is so often asked to perform racing for both Sky and Team GB.
“As a racing cyclist, competing in the World Championships is arguably a bigger stage in a rider’s career” he says. That’s a platform he’s performed on a number of occasions already including last year when he played a key role in helping Cavendish to the World Champion’s rainbow stripes. “But for sports fans in general, I accept that the Olympic Games are much bigger and that I’ve now got a chance to take part in such an event, that’s really special”.
With the road race taking place on the opening day and the cycling squad staying outside of the Olympic Village, does Ian think he’ll miss out on the ‘Games Experience’? “It would have been great to say you’d stayed in the Village but with our pro team commitments, training and other season goals to take into account, it simply won’t be possible. It’s quite likely that I’ll go home straight after the race but if I can get to any other events, then I’ll do so”.
Will Ian be sharing in the almost obligatory ‘Olympic Experience’ of getting a five-ring tattoo? His response to that question is short and to the point; “No!”
After tackling some triathlons, Ian started his racing career at Milton Keynes National Bowl. “I went to a few Tuesday night sessions to build up my speed for the cycling element of a triathlon and from there started in the Mobil Youth Challenge that involved racing, mtb racers and skills tests”.
Ian at the 2005 Road Worlds for Juniors
Stannard caught the eye of local businessman Bob Varney who was setting up a youth based racing team and in an interview last year with a National paper, Ian acknowledged that Bob was a key influence in his early racing career. Varney has his own memories of taking Ian to races. “At one three day event, he kept pulling his foot out in sprints and when I checked his shoes, his cleats were completely worn down. When I asked him why, he confessed that he’d been playing football in his racing shoes!”
“When I set up Team Keyne, we really tried to do things properly, staying together in hotels, all wearing the same kit etc. But, at the back of my mind it was always my hope that someone from that group would make it as a pro rider. And Ian’s that man. To see him powering away at the head of the peloton, riders shelling out the back, that sends shivers down my spine. And to now see him in the Olympics? Excellent!”
From his younger days, Ian moved onto British Cycling’s Olympic Development Academy programme – he won a gold medal on the track in the 2006 European Under 23 Team Pursuit – before, after tasting the life as a pro bike rider, as a stagiaire with T-Mobile, turning professional in 2008 for the Belgian Landbouwkrediet – Tonissteiner outfit.
Before turning professional, Ian had always dreamt of riding the hard, cobbled Classics of Northern Europe and his Belgian employers put his powerful frame to immediate effect in such races. “In the space of less than two weeks, I rode and finished the Tour of Flanders, Gent – Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix. I’m proud of that with that year being mine as a neo-pro as well”.
Ian racing in his ISD team colours before moving to team Sky in 2010 when the team was formed.
Despite, in true Classics style, that year‘s Tour of Flanders being held in freezing rain and snow flurries, Ian’s attraction to those races has never diminished. When asked what race he dreams of winning one day he immediately replies “Flanders and Roubaix”. Is that double dream just Ian being greedy? In double quick time he replies “No, why should it? Others have won both and in the same year, why not me?”
After a second professional year riding for the Italian team ISD-NERI, where Ian had his first experience riding a three week Grand Tour, in 2010 he joined Team Sky and has remained with them ever since. 2012 has seen Ian only fulfilling the promise he showed as a younger rider and that attracted the attention of the team bosses at Team Sky.
On joining Sky, their Head Coach Shane Sutton said; ““I reckon Ian is going to be a real revelation and prove to be one of our best signings” and that has certainly been the case this year as Ian has seemed to leap forward as a rider. What does he put this apparent improvement down to?
“I’m not really sure that is the case. If anything, where I’ve moved forward this year is in terms of my confidence. I now know what I can do and I’m doing just that”. That confidence was shown in the National championships where Ian rode at the front from the first lap and then soloed away to win on his own from part way through the penultimate lap. Does he feel different now riding in the colours of the National champion?
“I guess it’s kind of weird putting on a white jersey rather than the black Sky jersey I’ve worn for the last few years. It’s nice in that others come up to you in the bunch and recognise what I achieved and I’m very conscious of everything wearing the jersey represents, the history and things like that. Oh, and it’s great to have lots of new kit to wear and race on of course!”
2006 Europeans – What a line-up! Ian (left) with Andy Tennant, Geraint Thomas and Ed Clancy and in the centre, the one person who has probably done more for success on the road for British riders in team Sky/GB, Rod Ellingworth.
At the Games, Ian will swap that jersey for the colours of Team GB. What does he expect in the road race? “In many ways, it’ll be just another race. I know important medals will be at stake but I’ll be given a job and that’s what I’ll have to do. The crowds will be different, especially for a race in this country, and I know the atmosphere will be special.”
“With there only being a maximum of five men per team, that will make the race harder and more difficult to control. I don’t think us not having race radios like they do at the Tour will really make that much difference as we’re used to riding a lot of races nowadays without them. I don’t really have a view on that. Sometimes they can help but it’s great just to ride on instinct as well”.
But the Olympics come only part way through Ian’s season. What will he be doing after his appointment at the Games? “I expect I’ll be doing some of the one day Classics towards the end of the year and I’m also pencilled in to ride the Tour of Britain” – Ian finished third overall in his 2008 home Tour – “and it’ll be good to race on my home roads again. But if things change and I ride the Vuelta, that’ll be great as well”.
Cycling is a unique sport in many ways. Only one rider gets to step on the top of the winner’s podium but they are dependent on the support of their whole team in getting there. Ian may not be dreaming of being that man at the Olympics, but he knows there’s a very good chance that he can play a major role in helping Mark Cavendish to be Britain’s first gold medallist in ‘our’ Games and thereby kick- start the hoped for gold fever that will sweep the nation.
Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)
- Results : UCLAN Sport Circuit Race Series
- Result: Southborough & District Wheelers Open 10
- Result: NCRA Rockingham Raceway Handicap Series
- Report: Royal London 360 Isle of Man Youth League Round 7
- Results/Photos: Pedal Heaven Race 5 at Eelmoor
- Result: Tameside Circuit Races
- Report/Results: Vanillabikes.com Circuit Race league
- Results: Round 7 Litherland Circuit League
- Report/Results: Solihull CC No Frills Circuit Races #4
- Results: Wolverhampton Wheelers Track League
- Results: Tuesday Hillingdon Circuit Racing
- TT Result: Ipswich Bicycle Club Open 10
- Results: South West Regional Road Race Championships
- Results: Crystal Palace Crits #3
- Results: Circuit Races at Stourport
- Report/Results: Chevin Cycles Event 4
- Report/Results: Welwyn Track League
- Results: Ludgershall Summer Series, Race 1
- Results: Meadowbank Track League
- Report/Results: Raymond Brown Track League 3
- Result: Dave Astles Memorial Cheshire TLI Series
- Report: Thruxton Summer Circuits 2
- Result: GS Henley Road Race
- Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, Round One Stoke-on-Trent
- Result: Sheffrec CC 25 mile TT
- Results: North East Division Road Race Championships
- Results: Condor LVRC Road Race
- Report: Tour Series – Stoke-on-Trent (Staffordshire)
- Report/Results: TLI National Criterium Champs 2013
- Results: CDNW Youth League Round 2
- Results: Scottish RR Championships
- Result: Westbury Wheelers CC 24 Hardriders
- TT Result: Andover Wheelers Open 10
- Result: Stockport Clarion CC 10
- 2013 George Samuel Memorial Hove Park Crits Race 2
- TT Result: Tyneside Vagabonds CC 45
- Results: RTTC TT Series Rd 4
- Results: East Midlands Region Road Race Championships
- Result: High Wycombe CC 25
- Results: North West Divisional Champs
Other News on VeloUK
- Giro Team News: Evans holds on to second in Time Trial
- News: Critérium du Dauphiné 2013 – Arise, Sir Froome?
- News: Cumbria’s Lake District provides toughest test yet in Tour
- News: Olympic Champions for Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix
- News: Circuit of the Fens – Sunday 16th June
- News: Nunn-YB-London Racing Team Launch
- News: Pregnant Dame Sarah continues training
- Team News: Rapha Condor JLT at the Tour Series
- Giro: BMC’s Evans Assesses First Two Weeks
- News: Olympians and World Champions ride Aberystwyth Cycling Festival
- News: Johnson Health Tech GP Series is go!
- Alex Dowsett: Giro – “It’s about surviving”
- Team News: BMC’s Evans stays 2nd in Giro
- Team News: Win for Netapp-Endura in Calfornia
- Team News: Fourth win in 2013 Giro for Cav
- Team News: Shutt-sponsored Squadra Donne racing GP series
- News: Wiggins abandons Tour of Italy
- News: 100th Victory for Mark Cavendish
- Team News: House at Home in Durham Tour Series
- News: Scotland Gearing Up for ‘Grand Depart Weekend’
- Team News: Solid Start for Rapha
- New Event: Hafren CC Road Race, Mid Wales
- Team News: Bobby Julich Consultant For BMC
- News: Magpas Cambridge Cycle Challenge Sportive
- News: Gas Hill Gasp Returns
- News: Scottish Road Championships
- News: George Samuel Memorial Hove Park Crits Series
- News: Riders go for Gold at Pearl Izumi Tour Series
- News: Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series calendar amended
- News: Kalas Cup
- Tour Series: Riders & Teams
- Team News: Tom Boonen Returns to Racing in Tour de Picardie
- News: East London Velo’s Races
- News: Racing returns to Elveden this weekend
- News: Jon Norfolk lead coach for GB Paracycling Team
- News: Thoresby Park Festival of Cycling
- News: Veterans Dragon Two Day at Resolven
- Team News: Josh Williams First Win
- Event News: Albarosa Circuit Races
- Preview: Pearl Izumi Tour Series Coming Soon