British/Sky road team

Mar 19, 2009
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Is there a thread on this, I didn't see it.

It's quite a big thing I think, well for blighty anyway, does anyone know anything about it?

They were talking about this on eurosport again, and I think the team will be formed for next season. Will it be in the pro tour or whatever is going on with that these days ? And I guess it will have one of the biggest budgets of all teams. Who are they going to sign? They showed a few pictures of cavendish and talked about the team wanting to buy out riders contracts, but i think for cavendish this would be a bad idea he has a great team at columbia.

They say they want to have a british fellow win the tdf in 5 years time, but I think this is very unlikely , I can't think of any british riders with the capabilities to do this.
 
It's going to be interesting team for sure. The last I heard was they it will be up and running for next year with a possible start in Tour down under.

There was also a rumour I read about that they are interested in Edvald Boasson Hagen. Other than that I haven't seen much.
 
ingsve said:
It's going to be interesting team for sure. The last I heard was they it will be up and running for next year with a possible start in Tour down under.

There was also a rumour I read about that they are interested in Edvald Boasson Hagen. Other than that I haven't seen much.
how's that?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Ballan and Pelizotti are other names being tossed around.

I remember Clive Woodward after winning the rugby world cup saying that he could coach the England football team to similar glory - something that has yet to happen. There's a huge difference between the track and the road as most GB riders have experienced - the big exception being Cavendish who has made his career on the road with a pro team. A team he has npo intention of leaving and would be crazy to leave.

It's a nice idea and if they mean the team will have a TdF winner by 2014 then that's entirely doable if they sign a hot GC hope and train exclusively to win the TdF. But a British winner? I'm not holding my breath.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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They have Scott Sunderland, Roger Legeay and Max Sciandri on board for the management already, some good names there.

They have a big budget, so they should be able to get some good riders.

It won't be the chaos that you see at Lotto or Katusha thanks to the ideas of professionalism behind it.

But many will have a lot to learn, it is no longer about the backwater of track cycling and its predictable peformances (hit X watts and you will do Y time with Z medal), we're talking about confronting the world's best cyclists and then adding in tactics, crosswinds, punctures and a whole lot more.
 
Mar 29, 2009
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It's a really exciting time for British cycling. They won't just be signing British riders but with a huge budget, experienced background staff and big ambitions they've got a chance to create something special. Of course winning track medals isn't the same as winning on the road, but the same principles of hard work and attention to detail - that Brailsford has in spades - should make a difference. It's going to be a fun summer trying to speculate who will sign for them.
 
schadenfreude said:
i find the nationalistic angle uninteresting.
Isn't that a large part of pro cycling, though? I mean, I can think of a few teams on the protour that are truly multinational in the makeup of their riders (well, pretty much Columbia - maybe CSC but they still have a high percentage of Danish riders), but most teams are stocked with talent from the country the team is based in. Rabobank has more Dutch riders than other teams, Garmin has more American riders than other teams, Astana has more Kazakh riders than other teams (if there are any others out there), and the same go for the French, Belgian, Italian and Spanish-registered teams.

I'm not saying I disagree that nationalism is uninteresting, but I'd like to ask whether you think this new team's approach is different than others in some significant way.
 
schadenfreude said:
i find the nationalistic angle uninteresting.
I seriously doubt the nationalistic angle will be that prominent. There just not enough british riders that are ready for the highest levels of competition for them to reach their goals without being a well rounded team with riders from all over the world. I bet they'll look more diverse than most teams out there.
 
Mar 29, 2009
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So many squads have nationalist angles. Look at Lotto for example. They spend money on development squads in Belgium, not just their Protour team. Perhaps what people find uninteresting is the desire and ambition to have a British Tour winner by the year X. I don't think teams like Rabo, Lotto come out and say things like that about their national riders. But yeah, they'll certainly have a mix of British and non-British riders to start with, I'm sure. Otherwise it'll be a pretty small team.
 
Laurent said:
Perhaps what people find uninteresting is the desire and ambition to have a British Tour winner by the year X. I don't think teams like Rabo, Lotto come out and say things like that about their national riders.
That's very true, that kind of brash, pride-based assertion can turn people off. I guess I just wrote that off as initial media hype, like when Lance Armstrong's agent (or whoever it was, I only vaguely remember) said last September 'Lance is gonna come back and win an 8th Tour de France, for sure!' It seems to me like if you're going to launch this kind of initiative, and you want to capture the imagination of the non-cycling fan, you have to say something that will connect with them, like 'we're going to have a British TdF winner by 2014'. Casual sports fans know the TdF and nothing else, and it seems like an exciting goal. I assumed that statement wasn't speaking to cycling fans, but rather to a peripheral audience to capture their attention.

So it doesn't seem to me like that's the overarching goal of the team, I don't think that Scott Sunderland is going to be worrying about his job in 5 years if that doesn't happen.
 
Mar 29, 2009
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Agreed. And correct me if I'm wrong but Sky's desire is to broaden the appeal of cycling in the UK - no fan can be turned off by that - so by saying 'we'll win a tour in year X perhaps they're just trying to engage the typical UK sports fan who knows Chris Boardman, Cav, Hoy, the Olympics, The Tour and not much else.
 
skidmark said:
Isn't that a large part of pro cycling, though? I mean, I can think of a few teams on the protour that are truly multinational in the makeup of their riders (well, pretty much Columbia - maybe CSC but they still have a high percentage of Danish riders), but most teams are stocked with talent from the country the team is based in. Rabobank has more Dutch riders than other teams, Garmin has more American riders than other teams, Astana has more Kazakh riders than other teams (if there are any others out there), and the same go for the French, Belgian, Italian and Spanish-registered teams.

I'm not saying I disagree that nationalism is uninteresting, but I'd like to ask whether you think this new team's approach is different than others in some significant way.
once, yes. these days, not so much.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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schadenfreude said:
once, yes. these days, not so much.
Based on what assessment? I for one think that in countries where cycling is not a largely dominant sport nationalistic interest is always peaked when the results start to flow in.

Who doesn't get behind their countrymen or countrywomen when they got the win??
 
I think nationality does have a role to play in cycling. I am Irish and the first results I check are those of Roche, Deignan, Martin and the An Post/Sean Kelly team. The Kelly team might only be a minor team and their best riders are Belgians but the fact they are an Irish team means I will always support them plus I think they have the best jersey in cycling!!!

I think the Sky team will be interesting, if they could get all the current British pros and some other English speaking riders, they would have a good team. However, I cant see Cavendish or Millar going to Sky and guys like Hammond, Hunt are pushing on now. The only way I can see them having a rider winning the Tour within five years is if they can get their hands on Daniel Martin again.

Regardless, another team from an English speaking country with the right ethos wouldnt go amiss at all.
 
schadenfreude said:
once, yes. these days, not so much.
I'm curious how it has changed, and I say that honestly (ie. not in an argumentative way), because I have only been following pro cycling closely for a few years. From what I know of cycling history, it seems similar to me, but what the hell do I know.

Also, I'm still curious how you see this team as different than others with regards to the 'nationalistic angle', or if you maybe find all teams uninteresting. If you see fit to write more than a sentence in response, I'm all ears.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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On a related note, whatever happened to the australian ProTour team? They could at least field a decent sized roster of quality riders.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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However, I cant see Cavendish or Millar going to Sky and guys like Hammond, Hunt are pushing on now
I know it's been done to death on other forums, but there is a long list of riders who are already making an impact on races other than the ones above and quite a few of them are only under contract to the end of the year.
Cavendish won't, not yet anyway and I reckon he will try to get Peter Kennaugh on the Columbia team as well. Millar won't, not for now, as he has too much invested elsewhere. But Hunt and Hammond I can see being involved as the senior riders before getting into coaching - although Hunt has said he is going retire to Australia when he finishes racing.
As for other riders, Ben Swift, the Barloworld group of Thomas, Cummings and Froome are likely to be involved, Ian Stannard, Jonny Bellis, possibly Matt Brammier. Obviously there is the need for some current top-ranked riders as these guys are quite young so the ruimours will be flying later in the year. But Dan Martin isn't British so don't include him.

As for nationlism not being relevant in pro cycling today, taht quite clearly is rubbish. The Belgians will generally follow the Belgian teams and the Belgian riders generally want to ride for Belgian teams - see Gilbert. Same with the French and the Italians, the Dutch supporting Rabobank, the Basques, the Spaniards, the Danes supporting Saxo Bank, oh and Americans support Astana of course.

I think those nations who are not the traditional cycling lands, the US, Britain, Australia, those who haven't a history of top-level pro teams will tend to follow a wider spread of rider and may not be tied into the nationalistic thing. Hence why so many comments about that on this board. Personally I'm quite excited about having a British team to follow.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Well, seeing as Sky's chief markets are Britain, Ireland and Italy, it will be British, Irish and Italian cyclists that they will target.

I have heard Phil Deignan's name mentioned on a couple of occasions on the internet as a possible target and that makes sense - of the three current top level Irish pros he is the only one born there. Nick Roche is a francophone primarily and will always be more in demand with the French teams, especially with the link to his father.

Dan Martin was a former British junior champion and a person that some in the British Cycling management have said is a man that will one day win the tour. I know that there are several involved at different levels of BC who feel peeved off that he was let down so badly because he was no good on the track leading to his seeking an Irish License, and would make him feel very welcome if he were to return to the fold.

What the lad himself thinks, I cannot say. Certainly he said he was happy to be Irish in time for the Tour of Ireland last year, and he has been made to feel very welcome by the fans. And he would be a good acquisition from both a Sky TV perspective, and that of a team aiming to have a potential winner in 5 years time. And he still has a very midlands English accent (nothing wrong with that, of course).

Potential English riders would probably include the Barloworld Three, the two Dans at Cervelo, the likes of Swift, Stannard, Bellis and Kennaugh, and other academy kids. As regards the other big names, Hammond and Hunt will probably finish at Cevelo, though I could imagine either or both of them as some kind of backroom men there before the famous 2014 date; Cavendish will be way out of the price range (and priorities - they want Maillot Jaune, not Vert); Millar is part owner of Garmin, so despite his desire to join up, he'll go into management or become a DS there; Wiggins, as always, is a bit of an enigma.
 
Mar 31, 2009
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I wonder...

Maybe Dave Brailsford et-al has a new approach? Perhaps not a re-hash of how a pro road squad is run but start with a fairly "standard" team, bring in some experienced management/coaching staff that is on the same wavelength as the Britsh Cycling (BC) mind-set a mix of experienced and raw talent riders, channeled in the right way and build from there...

Someone like Shane Sutton doing the nuts-n-bolts stuff of running the team and keeping tabs on how good the coaches are then gradually introducing BCs own way of of doing things.

I agree that it's not all about "X" ouput etc. but it does have a huge impact if used properly and there aren't many coaching setups out there that can really hold a candle to what BC have done in the last few years. A fresh approach might work especially built on the success of the track team and all the under-the-hood stuff BC has developed that no one else is doing.

Maybe Mr Brailsford has something up his sleeve, just like he did with the trackies?
 
Mar 30, 2009
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I would assume that the barloworld brits will be signed up along with the developing youngsters like Peter Kennaugh and Andrew Tennant. I would expect the likes of Ben Swift and Johnny Bellis to join at the end of next season. Maybe they will take a punt on Russell Downing?

From the international scene it has already been said that any rider will have to have a clean past and all of there biological passports will need to be looked at. Obviously there are the likes of Cunego, Ballan, Pellizotti etc that could be available and have the right sort of mentality for a developing team. Also with the current problems at Caisse with Valverde is it possible that one or two of there riders maybe available, Luis Leon, Joaquin Rodriguez?

The talk of winning the tour in 5 years is very optimisitic, but to do that they need to begin building a team worthy of it now and as such will require a top GC rider now. Now it appears as though the greatest GC rider around at the moment will be available in the summer in Alberto Contador but would they be willing to take a risk on someone with a chequered past?
 
Apr 1, 2009
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Parcours said:
I would assume that the barloworld brits will be signed up along with the developing youngsters like Peter Kennaugh and Andrew Tennant. I would expect the likes of Ben Swift and Johnny Bellis to join at the end of next season. Maybe they will take a punt on Russell Downing?

From the international scene it has already been said that any rider will have to have a clean past and all of there biological passports will need to be looked at. Obviously there are the likes of Cunego, Ballan, Pellizotti etc that could be available and have the right sort of mentality for a developing team. Also with the current problems at Caisse with Valverde is it possible that one or two of there riders maybe available, Luis Leon, Joaquin Rodriguez?

The talk of winning the tour in 5 years is very optimisitic, but to do that they need to begin building a team worthy of it now and as such will require a top GC rider now. Now it appears as though the greatest GC rider around at the moment will be available in the summer in Alberto Contador but would they be willing to take a risk on someone with a chequered past?
I'm too lazy to go back and read 3 pages but has anyone mentioned the manix man? cav's contract is up this year with Columbia and despite the fact that he wants more than double what he is making now he would be the dude to sign for a UK team. No?

I'd love to see King Contador stick it to Joe-Han and Astana but I don't see it happening.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Also with the current problems at Caisse with Valverde is it possible that one or two of there riders maybe available, Luis Leon, Joaquin Rodriguez?
You're ****ing joking? BC wouldn't touch LL (remember Puerto?) and probably no-one else from Caisse either. Wouldn't touch Contador either. They will want riders who are as far from scandal as there can be, pretty much how Cervelo went about signing riders.

Cavendish has a contract through to the end of 2010. Not interested in him yet as they don't want to have to build a team around him for the tour. although I'll take back my suggestion that Cav will try to get Kennaugh on Columbia as Brailsford seems pretty keen to have him on Sky.
 
I made a list not so long ago of British riders plying their trade in professional teams, and can see that at the moment there are more riders out there than people think. Of course, with the team being made up primarily of British riders you will almost certainly be looking at those in the academy coming through, and those who have recently left it too (such as Bellis, Swift, Kennaugh).

Then stalwarts of the British professional scene to impart experience and give good opportunities for wins and high places (Wiggins, Hammond, Hunt). Then those who are young riders in pro teams such as Cummings, Lloyd, Froome (a very, very good all rounder), and Thomas. From there you have the basis of a very good backbone that can work throughout the year and still get results.

I still have not mentioned the likes of Dan Fleeman, Ed Clancy (not the greatest road racer but can work well as a domestique like when he was contracted at Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Charles Wegelius (though like Tom Southam may not see any chance of a contract due to working for the Italians early on in the Worlds in Madrid), and also a rider that seems to do well when racing away from Britain, Kristian House who despite eing a bit older has always been fairly competitive in small stage races with weak teams.

Talk of Millar and Cavendish would be well wide of the mark, especially for 2010, however, I can see Millar selling up at Garmin and getting onboard at Sky, with Cav coming in once his contact ends as long as the team is set up right. Who might come in as foreign riders is anyones guess at this stage, but like previous posters have said with Sky having a market in Italy and the British Academy being based there too it would be no surprise to see a few Italians come on board, another factor in that would be Max Sciandri's involvement.

So which Italians are likely to be available and have a squeaky clean image from the past and present. Its a good question but it may be that along with a top rider like Cunego and/or Pellizotti, you may see one or two riders that race against the academy squad in Italy come on board as BC would know al about their strengths having watched them race often enough.

All we know is Sky/British Cycling need to find themselves about 20-28 riders for next year with a large budget and also a way of making themselves look like a top team to get entrie to the biggest races if they do not become ProTour straightaway.
 

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