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Ian Stannard and the Tour of Britain
Words: Max Leonard | Photos ©Graham Watson
In the week before the start of the Tour of Britain, Rapha caught up with Ian Stannard, to chat to him about his season and the prospect of his first home Tour with Team Sky.
You've ridden the Tour of Britain before, haven't you?
I've ridden it three times before, but not with Team Sky and I'm definitely looking forward to getting back in to it. After the success of the Olympics and the past two Tours de France it's grown in stature massively and I'm looking forward to getting back there and experiencing it.
What are your memories of riding it the first time?
I rode it with the national team when I was still an amateur. There were teams like QuickStep with Tom Boonen, he was there, Filippo Pozzato was there, quite a few big riders so it was pretty awesome to be there and experience riding with them.
You're a former National Champion, and also winner of the Smithfield Nocturne - you must like racing in Britain.
The last time I raced on British roads was the Olympics. Obviously the Tour of Britain is slightly different, but you still have massive crowds out all over the country, it's becoming quite a thing to watch that race.
Do you really notice the increase in popularity of cycling in the UK when you're competing?
Yeah, even in day-to-day life when you're out in your kit you meet lots more cyclists on the road. Also, the support from people on social media – and it really shows when you see people's faces at the Tour of Britain. I haven't been there for a long time, I'm looking forward to it. It's nice to race on your home roads, to be able to talk to the fans in English, even English in the hotels makes a difference.
What are your highlights of this amazing season?
You'd have to say riding the Tour de France, with Froomey winning it and supporting that jersey for two weeks was pretty amazing and an experience I'll never forget, that's for sure. It was very tough. Every day we were on the front, having to make sure the right breakaway goes, making sure the time gaps are, there's a lot of work behind that to support Froomey. It was nice to get to the Champs-Élysées and experience being at that finish line.
You've had some amazing individual performances this season, notably at Milan-Sanremo and the Eneco Tour, what lessons or goals are you taking forward for next season?
The Classics are always going to be a goal for me, primarily Paris-Roubaix – a flat cobbled race suits me down to the ground. You know, I've got to win it at least once before I retire. Hopefully a few times! The Classics are a big thing, they all suit me. Then there's the Tour de France again, I'd love to be there helping Froomey to another Tour victory. Two straight ones would be pretty amazing for him, I'd love to be a part of that.
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