Stannard eyes Roubaix assault
Team Sky rider desperate to break Monument duck after string of near misses
Team Sky Classics rider Ian Stannard is willing to forego his chances of victory in minor one-day events to finally secure the Monument victory that has eluded him.
Talking to Cycling Weekly last week at the Challenge Majorca, the 30-year-old rider revealed that he is putting other races to one side as he attempts to crack the cobbles of Paris-roubaix.
“My training has been geared around that style of racing rather than the Belgian races so I’m just trying to think about that and try and do well in it — well, better than third anyway,” Stannard said.
Bettering his third-place 2016 finish at the ‘Hell of the North’ will be easier said than done, but the British star believes the team are already better prepared than in previous years.
“It’s a big lottery, choosing the right kit and equipment, but I think this year we are really ahead of the game. The bikes are usually a lastminute thing, but we’ve had them sorted already and did a recon the other week.”
Stannard will race Parisnice and Milan-san Remo before deciding the final part of his pre-roubaix schedule.
The strength in depth of the Team Sky outfit is evident. Despite the loss of Luke Rowe for this year’s Classics due to injury, Stannard believes there are plenty of other riders to fill the Welshman’s shoes including Geraint Thomas, who is returning to the Classics squad after a year out focusing on Grand Tours.
“It’ll be good to have someone else up there in the final with Dylan [Van Baarle],” Stannard said. “Obviously Gianni [Moscon] is an absolute monster and he will definitely be up there too. G [Thomas] is going to do Roubaix as well and will be going there to try and win it. He has been up there in that race before and he loves the Classics.”
The influx of younger Classics riders to Sky has seen Stannard assume the role of elder statesman.
“Its funny because you are always the young guy, then all of a sudden you are the old guy, there is no in between,” he said. “It’s like, I’m 30 — am I really that old?
“It’s amazing how it changes; you’ve got to take that role and share what you have learnt.”