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“Rather than talking about tweaking things it’s more of a belt and braces, blank sheet of paper, let’s start again way of thinking” 

Photo: Sirotti
20.12.2014 @ 15:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

After a disappointing 2014 season, the brains behind the Team Sky operation, Sir Dave Brailsford, is going back to the drawing board for his team’s tactics for 2015.


“Rather than talking about tweaking things it’s more of a belt and braces, blank sheet of paper, let’s start again way of thinking,” he enthusiastically tells Cyclingnews as he navigates through Palma airport on route to Monaco.


“We’re going into our sixth season and at certain points we’ve evolved during that time but every now and then you have to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. That’s what I’ve tried to do in terms of looking at what we do, how we do it and there’s been a lot of analysis. Then it’s a case of putting it all together for the start of the new season,” he explains.


“There are changes in personnel, we’ve brought a few people in who will question things but in the main it’s about taking a really fresh look at the situation. I try and imagine it’s like walking into a new team rather than thinking about an evolution of an existing team. It’s about looking at things as if it was day one and then looking at how we move forward.”


One thing that hasn’t changed much from last year is the leaders of the team. Richie Porte will once again lead the team at the Giro, which he was prevented from doing in 2014 due to illness, before he becomes Chris Froome’s chief helper at the Tour de France. Froome may also lead at the Vuelta a Espana, although that isn’t guaranteed, as new signings Nicolas Roche and Leopold Konig may want free rein in Spain to repeat their 2013 stage wins there.


Bradley Wiggins will lead the Cobbled Classics team with Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Bernhard Eisel before he leaves the team to ride with his Continental squad to help him prepare for track riding at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Wiggins is one of the best at setting targets and achieving them, and Brailsford says the 2012 Tour winner is firmly fixed on Paris-Roubaix, where he was ninth this year.


“It’s impressive when he’s on it and he’s really on it with Roubaix,” Brailsford says.


“The way he’s thinking about Roubaix and what he needs to do is as impressive as ever. If he wins there he will cement his place as one of the true greats of the sport.”




In 2014, the team seemed to get things wrong tactically, looking lackluster and lost in both the Giro and the Tour once they lost their GC chances, and they failed to win a Grand Tour stage in 2014, the first time that had happened since their first season, 2010. Brailsford puts the performance down to bad luck, and continually losing their captains.


“I think we had a couple of years when everything went to plan. We won that series of races with Paris-Nice, Romandie, Dauphine and Tour, all back to back but if you look at the start of this season when Ian Stannard won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad we were all rubbing our hands thinking that this is it and that we’d win a Classic but then through no fault of his own he broke his back in a crash. And I think that summed up our season.”


“Richie looked great in Tirreno-Adriatico but then got really sick and had to skip the Giro d'Italia. Chris had his crashes. Geraint Thomas crashed out at Paris-Nice but in the middle of a challenging season there were some great performances like Bradley’s win in the Worlds time trial. It was one of the best performances of our entire life as Team Sky. Froome also won Romandie and Oman. And the character he showed at the Vuelta was a real boost to the team. When he was fighting and battling, clawing his way up those climbs like he did, that gave the team huge morale. I think that meant we ended up on a good note and that’s run with us through the off season.”


Indeed, the Vuelta was one of Froome’s best performances, as despite not being at his fittest, he remained in contention, riding at his own pace and then in the final week, he caught and passed Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde to finish second behind an imperious Alberto Contador.


Brailsford hopes this boost and the hunger that comes from a bad season will life the team to new heights in 2015.


“When you have seasons where you have a lot of success, and then maybe a season where you have some but not as much success, it always gets you going and puts everyone on their A game again.”






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