British Cyclists - future looks bright?

May 31, 2016
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A few years back when Sky came on the scene much was made of Britain as a new super-power but the claim (at least in men's road racing) felt hollow. Without Cavendish and Wiggins/Froome there was little in the way of victories or, just as importantly, number of riders. Aside from the Tour (and week-long races used in the lead up to the Tour) only Cavendish won a major 1 day race and the record at the Giro was awful. Even at the Tour it was possible to only have a handful of British riders. Things though are starting to look really promising.

Alongside Froome's wins the Yates brothers are now regularly in the Top 10 in Grand Tours. Thomas will surely finish on the podium before his career ends (I really hope) and has won big week-long races, Cummings is threatening in stages and we can still hold on to the possibility of Swift/Stannard/Rowe winning a Monument.

But it's the new influx that excites me I believe I'm right that there will be 20 riders at World Tour level in 2018. Is this a record? I'd be interested to know what people feel about these and which ones have a chance of winning some big races. What do you think we should hope for from the new guys?

Team Sky:
Froome
Thomas
Rowe
Stannard
Geoghegan Hart
Doull
Lawless

Dimension Data:
Cavendish
Cummings
Thwaites
Davies

Orica:
Yates
Yates

Bora-Hansgrohe:
Kennaugh

Cannondale:
Carthy
McLay

Katusha-Alpecin:
Dowsett

Quick-Step Floors:
Knox

Lotto–Soudal:
Shaw

UAE:
Swift
 
Right now only Froome and to a lesser extent Cavendish, Thomas, Yates and Yates matter in that order, and the first three are on the wrong side of 30. Future doesn't look brighter than the past 7 years, that's for sure.
 
May 31, 2016
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Re:

Red Rick said:
Right now only Froome and to a lesser extent Cavendish, Thomas, Yates and Yates matter in that order, and the first three are on the wrong side of 30. Future doesn't look brighter than the past 7 years, that's for sure.
I agree that in 50 years time it may well be the case that the period 2010 - 2017 could be looked at the most successful Britain has ever been in terms of results (5 Tours, 1 Vuelta, 1 World Championship, 1 TDF Green Jersey, 2 TdF White jerseys, 1 MSR etc etc) but I was thinking more about variety and the number of riders competing at WT level
 
May 31, 2016
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King Of The Wolds said:
Dibben too.

Great to see so many, but no country can keep turning out generations with 3 riders of the calibre on Froome, Wiggins and Cavendish.
21 then! Knew I'd miss somebody. No way we can expect to keep churning out TdF winners as we have. Hoping there will be a good mix amongst this new group.
 
Britain having three very high level cyclists simultaneously was a bit of a fluke. Much like Ireland having both Kelly and Roche in the 80s. The difference is that Britain should have the scale to build something more lasting out of it. A similar rise in interest per capita should produce ten times the number of racing cyclists and fans, just because of population difference. So while Ireland effectively disappeared from the international scene again for some years after the retirements of its big names, that can be avoided in Britain

The key is the infrastructure that's built on the back of the rise in the sport's visibility. The track structure, developed as a cheap way to harvest the lowest hanging fruit in the Olympics is very useful. Sky is also useful. But there is still a huge gap beneath Sky. The domestic Conti scene isn't all that strong and there are no smaller scale pro teams (PCT or low budget WT) at all. A sustainable PCT team would make a big difference from a rider development point of view. (Much the same is true of Australia, Britain's most obvious peer in cycling terms).
 

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