Team Sky wants to continue building on the success of the past five years and presented its vision for the next five years at a press day on Majorca this weekend. Looking ahead to 2020, team principal David Brailsford says the British team is ready to add to its tally of 165 victories and continue to innovate in professional cycling.
“The first chapter of Team Sky was successful,” Brailsford said. “We set out to win the Tour de France, to do it clean and to do it with a British rider. We have done that twice. And we have helped inspire a million more people in the UK to take up cycling. But it is in our DNA to think that we could have gone further, that we could have achieved more. And we are now hungrier than ever.”
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Sky counts 165 wins since it began with Greg Henderson sprinting to victory in the Tour Down Under’s opening criterium in 2010.
Bradley Wiggins led the team at the Tour de France, but Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen won the team’s first two stages in 2011.
Wiggins struggled through his 2010 Tour attempt and broke his collarbone the following year. In 2012, he came through by dominating the two long time trials and defending in the mountains.
Great Britain’s first WorldTour team dominated elsewhere. Australian Richie Porte won France’s Paris-Nice and Portugal’s Tour ao Algarve stage races. He is one of the team’s many grand tour stars and is expected to lead it at the Giro d’Italia in 2015.
The classics remain one of the last frontiers for Sky to conquer. With Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Bernhard Eisel, a big win could come soon. Wiggins, who returned to race the Tour of Flanders and placed ninth in Paris-Roubaix in 2014, will end his Sky career in Paris-Roubaix on April 12 and give the team another ace to play.
Brailsford explained that he wants the team to win more than it has in the last five years. Those wins, he added, need to come in Grand Tours as well as the big one-day races.
Sky’s five-year run was not always rosy, but sometimes as black as its racing kit. En route to both Tour de France wins, Wiggins and Froome were forced regularly to defend themselves and the team’s anti-doping policies.
After the Lance Armstrong scandal in 2012, Sky had to revisit its zero-tolerance policy and to jettison key players. Sports Director Steven de Jongh and Coach Bobby Julich admitted doping in their careers and quit the team. Sean Yates, who raced alongside and later directed Armstrong, cited personal problems before leaving.
It fired Jonathan Tiernan-Locke after biological passport readings showed strange values. Tiernan-Locke’s numbers from the 2012 season, when he raced with Endura and won several races including the Tour of Britain, indicated he doped.
“Our vision is to continue to play a leadership role in charting a better future for this great sport of ours and changing the culture that so damaged it. That means continued leadership on anti-doping. But much more than that, we want Team Sky to be at the cutting edge of innovation and a reference point for excellence in human performance,” Brailsford continued.
“And the purpose of all this is very simple – to do everything we can to make more people fall in love with cycling so it can have a positive impact on their lives.”