UCI president and former member of the team's operating board says homegrown riders are not being developed by the squad.

UCI president Brian Cookson believes Team Sky has abandoned one of its original pledges of seeking to develop young British riders.

Cookson was a member of the operating board of the team’s owners, Tour Racing Limited, from its inception in 2010 until he was elected into his current position last September.

But during an interview for CW’s  sister magazine, Cycle Sport, Cookson bemoaned the team’s changed position on blooding home-grown talent.

“I’m reluctant to criticise Sir David Brailsford in any way because he has done amazing things with British Cycling and with Team Sky, but I feel that the team isn’t quite staying true to one of the reasons it was formed,” said Cookson.

Sky’s 2010 line-up contained eight British riders. The 2014 team still had eight British riders, but the riders from other countries had grown from 18 to 20.

With regards to the initial stated aims of developing British talent, the team’s second youngest rider, Josh Edmondson, is rumoured to be joining MTN-Qhubeka for 2015.

And arguably the most promising young British talents in the past five years – Adam and Simon Yates – turned professional this season with the Australian Orica-GreenEdge squad.

“I mean, the Yates brothers should be in Team Sky,” Cookson added.

See this week’s Cycling Weekly (October 23), and the December 2014 issue of Cycle Sport – both in the shops now – for more with Brian Cookson. 


  • Mark Jones

    I agree and I am happier supporting the Yates twins at Orica than seeing them stagnate at Sky which seems to be the case with others. At least with Orica they have had a chance to ride for themselves and develop properly. The criticism has to be that Sky is failing at this. They have signed four British neo pros in six years which is not good especially with none in 2013 or 2014. British riders of a high calibre like the Yates twins choose not to sign for them and this only get worse given there record so far. I too would like nothing more than to see 2 or 3 British riders challenging each other in a grand tour.

  • John Westwell

    I agree – there needs to be more than one team where British riders can develop. With the possible exception of the French teams, talented riders from other nations don’t expect to ride for a home-based team. And in recent years, any French rider with ambition has tended to have to look outside France to develop. That may be changing, but it will be interesting to see how Bardet, Pinot and Barguil stand up to the increased expectations placed on them by their media next season. In the meantime, this is a golden age for British cycling. You don’t have to be very old to remember when suggesting that a British rider on a British team would win the Tour de France would have been met with derision. Or that British riders would dominate track events.

  • Pee Bee

    It’s all very good and laudable to develop young British riders within a single British team, but when they reach maturity what then? If they all stay with the same team, surely that is a cause of stagnation as they can’t all become team leader. Consequently I think that the Yates twins are better served elswhere and that British riders have far more opportunities by spreading themselves around within different teams. Consequently I am very pleased that riders such as Cavendish and others have managed to extracate themselves from the Sky stranglehold. Chapeau to Wiggo for being the first Brit to win Le Tour, but how exciting would it be to have two or three British riders on different teams challenging each other for GC in a grand tour. That’s when British cycling will have come of age!

  • Steven Nicholson

    Cookson’s 100% correct, Sky have become too obcessed with results rather than development, i don’t know if thats due to pressure coming from BSkyB or just a route DB has taken. Orica are probably the best WT team at the moment at developing talent at the moment and its no suprise that as well as some of the best young Aussies like Ewan, Howson, etc some of the best European talents like the Yates twins + Magnus Cort have chosen to sign for them.

  • Mark Jones

    … in the mean time, France have been developing their home grown talent and the future is looking bright for them. The plan in Team Sky was to develop a home grown rider to win the Tour de France, which I don’t think they did. Bradley Wiggins had already finished 4th the year before so they weren’t developing a rider and Chris Froome is from Kenya. Get back to your original aim of developing British riders or you’ll be missing out on more riders like the Yates twins.

  • Mark Jones

    I agree completely with what Brian Cookson is saying and it is sickening that our only team in the top two levels does not develop homegrown riders. Team Sky are surely losing support in the UK and I for one would prefer to see a team giving chances to the likes of Peter Kennaugh. Josh Edmondson was picked up by the team a year early to prevent others from signing him and his career has been going nowhere with the sometimes directionless Team Sky. Let’s see how DB spins his way out of this one.