Talkingshop: British Champion Ian Stannard


Paul Burgoine talks to British classics rider Ian Stannard about his season and Paris-Roubaix which takes place Sunday

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PB: How do you feel your season has gone so far?
Ian Stannard: “Well yeah it’s gone well so far. Obviously San Remo was the highlight. I showed what I can do and let’s hope I can replicate that this Sunday”.


Photo: Thomas van Bracht

PB: Were you surprised to be in such good form coming out of the training camp?
IS: ”No, I wasn’t really surprised to be up there with them guys. I knew I had that ride in me. It was really tough and a strange day with the restart making it a lot harder. I sat in the wheels hurting for a long while till we hit the hills then blew out a few cobwebs”.

PB: Any weather preferences for Sunday?
IS: ”It would be nice to race in a bit of sun to be honest but no, I will take whatever is thrown at me and race to the best of my ability”.

PB: Paris-Roubaix has always been one of your dream races. Do you feel this could be your year?
IS: ”Yeah so far definitely. Hopefully there is more to come from me over the next few years, and this is just a stepping stone but I would love to perform this year as it’s my fifth time riding it so I know the race and I look forward to getting into it”.

PB: Will you be a protected rider this year?
IS: “I don’t know as we haven’t talked about it yet but we have got plenty of other strong riders ‘Eddy Bos’ (Edvald Boasson Hagen) and ‘G’ (Geraint Thomas) so we will see but I can definitely be there at the end and that’s my ambition”.

PB: Has the pre-classics training camp in Tenerife worked for you?
IS: ”Yeah, for me personally, its worked very well. I enjoyed the whole different take on it and we have come into the races really fresh ready to go and we have raced well. Obviously Flanders was disappointing but in other races we have had good numbers up front so we are hoping for the same this weekend and take the race on”.

PB: How difficult is it to plan your tactics at Roubaix?
IS: ”You have a basic plan then just take it as it comes. In the d’Arenberg forest, we’ll see what numbers we have there and take it from there. We have the DS’s in the car making decisions so that helps us”.


Photo: Thomas van Bracht

PB: Is there a line you can take through the cobbled sectors like the d’Arenberg Forest?
IS: ”You come into it so fast it’s almost like a bunch sprint. For a few hundred metres before it, you are fighting with everyone so you take whatever line you can get while still looking out for the bigger rocks and holes trying not to smash your bike up. Once the road starts dragging up again, you can pick a certain line again”.

PB: You have come a long way in your career. Did you imagine you would be one of the favourites for this race?
IS: ”I have always believed in myself, and believed I could perform in this race so it’s nice to be lining up this weekend with one of the strongest teams in the race. We have been given everything we need to perform and it’s down to us now”.

PB: Are you on a normal road bike for the race?
IS: ”Yes, the same Pinarello I have been riding all year with 27m tyres, C50 rims and just single bar tape. I think the key aspect is having the right tyres and pressure”.

PB: Is it a race you can ever get used to or is it always a shock?
IS: ”I remember doing the junior Paris-Roubaix and thinking ‘Holy Crap’. Since riding it with Sky and having Servais Knaven’s and other team members advice, helps and teaches you. Getting back on the Roubaix cobbles this weekend seems like second nature to me so it’s all positive for this weekend”.


Ten years ago this is what Ian Stannard was doing … winning a Under 16 race in Victoria Park (2003). Now he’s taking on the worlds best in the biggest single day bike in the world. Dreams can come true …

PB: It seem like every rider says it’s a race you need to learn to win.
IS: ”You need to learn the sectors and you need to know the corners and when to be at the front. There is less chance of recovery in Roubaix than in Flanders. There are wider roads in Roubaix as opposed to Flanders where the race shuts down a lot when you turn into the smaller roads”.

PB…Do you think Cancellara will have a harder time in this race without the bergs to make the selection?
IS…”You can’t underestimate how hard the cobble stones are especially when you get to the finale of the race. They are absolutely brutal. They are like mountains. You are putting out bigger watts than you would up a climb. It’s as much in your head as your hands are killing you, your whole body is hurting and it’s a lot of mind over matter”.

PB: What does it mean to you riding Paris-Roubaix in the British Champions jersey?
IS: ”Absolutely fantastic. It’s a great jersey to ride in and I will wear it with pride. To get on the podium with it on would be amazing”.

PB: Are you feeling better this week after suffering from a cold?
IS: ”Yes. Last weekend I didn’t feel 100% and it was very disappointing not to go as well as I would have liked but I have rested and relaxed this week and I’m ready to go”.

PB…How do Sky win the race?
IS: ”We need to have numbers in front and Cancellara needs to come up to us, we need to be in front of him before he goes”

Good luck to ‘Yogi’ in a race that suits him well. We’ll be watching!



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