?I am confident that this time next year, we will all be on the first team training camp, and there?ll be a real big buzz,?
Dave Brailsford, December 2008
If Brailsford is right, 2009 is the year the British-run professional team will take shape and in 2010 the squad will ride the Tour de France for the first time.
The current issue of Cycle Sport delved behind the scenes to trace the progress of the plans so far and explain how the pieces of the jigsaw will slot into place over the coming months.
Rumours are rife that the main sponsor will be Sky, the satellite broadcaster which signed a reported £40-million, five-year sponsorship deal with British Cycling earlier this year.
Roger Legeay and Heiko Salzwedel have already joined British Cycling in some capacity as the managerial team begins to take shape. Rod Ellingworth, one of the chief architects of the British Cycling academy system that has already produced Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift, Ian Stannard and Jonny Bellis in five short years, is set to play a key role. And Scott Sunderland, the Australian who was a directeur sportif at CSC last season, is also strongly rumoured to be on board.
There are no confirmations yet, although we know that a long list of potential riders has already been drawn up. That?s not surprising considering riders will start to sign contracts for 2009 in July this year.
So who will be in the team in 2009? We?d take a bet that Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings, Chris Froome and Ian Stannard would provide the British core.
Brailsford will have to wait for the other key targets Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins. They are contracted for at least two seasons, meaning they will not be available when the team launches.
Sceptics will point out the team will need a lot more than that to compete in the Classics and the tours. If Sky is the sponsor, Ireland and Italy will be among the key markets, meaning the likes of Phil Deignan, Alessandro Ballan, Vincenzo Nibali and Marco Pinotti would be appealing. The team will need a French contingent too, in order to ensure a wild card place in the Tour. That means Pierre Rolland and Romain Feillu would be on the shopping list. After that, it?s logical to assume the team will feature a number of Australian and Scandinavian riders.
It?s also no secret that John-Lee Augustyn, a team-mate of Froome?s at Barloworld and the rider who reached the top of the Tour?s highest mountain before crashing spectacularly, is a rider who has caught the eye.
Brailsford is not short of ambition, and money is not likely to be a problem, although the plummeting pound means that he knows he will get less for his money than he would have done six months ago.
For all the details see the January 2009 issue of Cycle Sport, which is on sale now priced £4.10