Cycling Weekly is counting down the top 30 British Riders of the Year thoughout December. The top 10 will be revealed in the December 19 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
NUMBER 26: IAN STANNARD
If you want any proof of Ian Stannard’s reputation in the peloton, you need look no further than the reaction from two sports directors when they heard rumours that the 26-year-old might be lured away from Team Sky.
They both said: How much is he on? We’d take him tomorrow.
Sky, of course, had no interest in letting Stannard go and the rumours that he might switch teams were, in all likelihood, merely a bargaining chip to ensure his current employers were aware of his worth.
We’ve been saying it for a few years now but it’s still true: a massive win is inevitable at some point.
We thought it was going to happen at Milan-San Remo, on a savage day when the snow and ice froze the riders’ faces into a grimace. You didn’t particularly notice with Stannard because he always looks like that on a bike.
He was, arguably, the strongest rider in the final group of seven having earlier been away with Sylvain Chavanel and Eduard Vorganov. Then he attacked hard with four kilometres to go and again inside the final two kilometres, but to no avail.
Stannard then used his considerable strength to support Chris Froome during the Tour de France before turning in another individual performance at the Eneco Tour where he appeared to tow Zdenek Stybar over the Muur in Geraardsbergen before losing out at the death.