Ian Stannard may forgo Het Nieuwsblad hat-trick in favour of Paris-Roubaix success

Ian Stannard is targeting success at Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders in 2016, instead of making it three successive wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Ian Stannard wins the 2014 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
(Image credit: Watson)

Ian Stannard is plotting a different winter’s training schedule in order to maximise his chances of winning Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.

The Team Sky rider is the winner of the last two editions of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, memorably outfoxing three Etixx-Quick Step riders this year to defend his title.

But the 28-year-old, currently in Richmond preparing for the World Championships road race on Sunday, is not planning to focus his ambitions on making it a hat-trick of victories in the Belgian race, instead circling the two biggest Spring Classics as his early season objectives for 2016.

Stannard’s previous results have been relatively unremarkable in the two races: he has competed in both races six times, his highest finish at Paris-Roubaix being 36th in 2011, the same year he achieved his best result of 50th at the Tour of Flanders.

Watch: Team Sky's Pinarello cobble bike

A crash at Ghent-Wevelgem that injured his back scuppered his chances of success in 2014, and this year he was too burned out after his earlier exploits in February and March.

Despite his dearth of success in the races thus far, his performances in other Spring Classics and his potency on the cobbles will make him a rider not to underestimate.

“This year I went a bit too well, too early,” he told Cycling Weekly. “Roubaix and Flanders are my favourite races.

“I’ll be pushing forward more for them and maybe changing my training.

“I will have to adapt my training slightly to [concentrate more on] them: do the more intense stuff a little bit later than I did this year. I have to change the race programme for that.”

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.