Talking Shop: Ian Stannard – Target – Roubaix!


Gordon Wiseman writes about British Road Race Champion Ian Stannard and his 2013 season that lies ahead with some big goals

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British Road Race Ian Stannard kick started his sixth season as a pro bike rider in Australia on Sunday, keen as ever to put his hundreds of miles of winter training to good effect as he starts his build up to the mud and crashes of his favourite races of the year, April’s cobbled Classics.


And the 25 year old had an extra incentive to perfect his training this winter as he starts his 2013 racing campaign wearing the red, white and blue jersey of the national champion having won the British Road Race championship last June. Now in his fourth year with Team Sky, Stannard is a renown Classics specialist and has already achieved significant results in one-day ‘classic’ races having finished 3rd in Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne in 2010 and 4th in the 2011 edition of Paris-Tours.

Having taken a short rest after finishing his 2012 season with a crash and fractured pelvis, Ian has been clocking up the miles starting with a lone week’s training in Lanzarote before joining up with his teammates at Team Sky in Tenerife and then Majorca.

Having topped their 2012 season with Bradley Wiggins stunning victory at the Tour de France, the team have been looking at how they can replicate that success in the Classics and part of that plan has seen a Classics squad training together over the winter months before they started their first race of the year this week ‘down under’.

That careful preparation even had the group undertake a rare visit just before Xmas to some of the cobbled bergs that feature in the Tour of Flanders – one of Stannard’s favourite races – for an early recce of this year’s race route.
Did it seem strange to Ian to be riding those roads in December? Never one to be phased, Ian answers that question very simply; “No, they are the same roads etc, it wasn’t any different to when we race them in March and April!”

He was equally direct in explaining how he felt he’ll respond to Sky’s focussed attention on the Classics and the specific training programme they’d been undertaking; “Its ok, nothing new really just solid training. How will I benefit from it? I don’t know, I’ll have to wait until the racing has begun to find out!”

Usually at this time of the year Ian will know exactly what his early race programme will consist of but it’s been reported that Team Sky will be missing some of the early semi-classic races and usual warm up races like Tirreno – Adriatico that usually feature in Stannard’s programme and instead be undertaking Classic specific training camps so at this stage all Ian can say about his racing schedule is that it will involve “some racing and lots of training. Basically I don’t know!”

In a recent video promo on Team Sky’s website Ian said that his goal for the season was to “perform in the Classics and prove myself” and he recently expanded that comment adding that by the end of the Classics campaign he wanted “just to have raced my bike to the best of my ability”.

That’s one thing that’s always been Stannard’s determination, to give of his best whether it’s playing a support role helping a team-mate chase a win or, as he’s always dreamed of, being the first British rider to cross the line first at his favourite race of the year, Paris – Roubaix and 2013 will be no different.

That chase of the win at Roubaix started in Sunday’s People’s Choice Classic, a 51km criterium around the streets of Adelaide where Ian helped Chris ‘CJ’ Sutton sprint into 5th place. On Tuesday the racing moved up a gear as Ian and his seven team-mates started the six day, 760km Santos Tour Down Under that’s based in and around the capital city of South Australia. With a number of the race making climbs earlier on in this opening stage race of the year mixed with circuit finishes and next Sunday’s closing 90km criterium, the TDU will be a stern test for Ian and his team-mates as they test their legs ahead of their aimed for Classic successes.

Tuesday’s opening 135km stage proved tougher than many expected and with Team Sky focussing on keeping their favoured riders for the overall result up at the front of the race, Ian was in domestique mode, covering and protecting double Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas and eventual 8th place finisher Edvald Boasson Hagen in contention.


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