Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford promises that Team Sky will provide excitement during the 2016 race season
Speaking during his New Year message, Brailsford again confirmed Sky’s aim to become the “greatest cycling team in the world”, by building on their success to date.
Without giving away too many specifics – not just yet, at least – Brailsford said: “To maintain the momentum 2016 must be our most successful year ever, on and off the bike.
“Every year we like to set ourselves tough and ambitious targets and 2016 will be no different. In the next two weeks we will outline exactly what we want to achieve and I can promise you that they are a set of objectives to excite any cycling team and any cycling fan.
“I firmly believe we have the team to deliver excellent results this season, so watch this space.”
Brailsford is not just talking about race victories, but helping to move the sport forward: “At the same time as meeting the main goal of winning bike races, we will continue to play a leadership role in moving the great sport of cycling forward to a brighter future – innovating, riding clean and winning clean,” he said.
Brailsford took the opportunity to thank the British WorldTour team’s growing global fanbase for its support during the preceding season, saying: “There is also a wider passion that motivates us all at Team Sky.
“I cannot tell you what a difference it makes when we see our supporters out on the road – whether cyclists sharing the road when we are out training, and they wear the same gear and give us a great welcome, or from fans lining the routes of the great races we exist to win.”
Team Sky’s first major race of the season will be the Tour Down Under in Australia over January 19-24, the opening event in the UCI’s top-level WorldTour calendar. The squad will field Geraint Thomas, Sergio Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Salvatore Puccio.
Watch: Tour Down Under 2016 essential guide
Later in the season, the team aims to build on its 2015 success in the Classics – despite its numerous victories, the squad has yet to win one of cycling’s Monuments (the Tour of Flanders, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Il Lombardia).
Then it’s on to the Grand Tours, where Chris Froome is hoping to defend his Tour de France victory, and other riders will aim to make an impression in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.
Thomas has been touted as a contender for longer stage races this season, having proved his form during the 2015 Tour in support of Froome. With 2015 Paris-Nice, Giro del Trentino and Volta a Catalunya winner Richie Porte having moved on to BMC for 2016, Thomas will have more opportunities to lead the team in stage races and is likely to be the squad’s ‘Plan B’ at the Tour.