Stan­nard eyes Roubaix as­sault

Team Sky rider des­per­ate to break Mon­u­ment duck af­ter string of near misses

Cycling Weekly - - Contents - Paul Knott

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.”

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