Ian Stannard building confidence for 2012 season
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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ian Stannard building confidence for 2012 season

by Kyle Moore at 7:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
24-year-old Brit speaks about past and future with Team Sky

Ian StannardThis season brought some personal success for Ian Stannard (Team Sky), but the British rider felt he learned a lot in his second season with the team, and is looking forward to more achievements in 2012.

Stannard is looking forward to the arrival of Mark Cavendish next season, and will likely act as a primary lead-out man for the Manx Missile, much as he did in September of this year in the World Road Race Championships, as Cavendish took the title.

“The Worlds was amazing to be part of,” Stannard explained on the team website. “The way we dominated the race and with those Team GB jerseys at the front was just phenomenal. And then for Cav to finish it like that was just great. For him to come to be coming to Team Sky next year is fantastic.”

As he gets more established at Team Sky, Stannard is beginning to find a home in the spring Classics. The Brit rode all of the cobbled Classics in 2011, and while he didn’t pick up a result of his own, he was able to learn from some very experienced team-mates.

“You learn a hell of a lot from the likes of Flecha, [Mathew] Hayman and especially Jez [Hunt],” he expained. “They have so much experience in those races. You just keep picking things up and it all adds together and helps you keep moving on.”

Stannard nearly pulled off a stunner, leading under the red kite in Gent-Wevelgem and only getting overtaken by the sprinters in the final 200 meters. After helping Cavendish to the world championship, he finished his season with a fine fourth place at Paris-Tours. He came home in a group of three behind winner Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and runner-up Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM).

“That was a good way to round off the year," he said. “I’m pleased with my results this season and really enjoy what I do. I will always do whatever job I’m asked to do so when the results come along as well, that’s great too.”

The 24-year-old was a bit too young to crack the Tour de France team on the loaded British squad in 2011, so Stannard instead spent a portion of July elsewhere in Europe, picking up his first professional win in the Tour of Austria. “It was nice to finally get my first win and hopefully it will give me a bit more confidence going forward,” he said.

After struggling a bit to meet heavy expectations in their inaugural year of 2010, Team Sky was much improved in 2011, and Stannard feels that solid team chemistry will lead to even more success in 2012.

“Confidence is high and the team as a whole has really matured,” he concluded. “Everyone gets on really well, it’s fun being at the races and the results keep coming.

“Once it starts it kind of keeps rolling. Seeing your team-mates have a decent result makes you want to do it yourself and one win goes into the other. It’s a good mix and you'd hope we’re just going to win more and more, especially with Cav.”


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