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"The idea is to be strong for Flanders week. I am going to come into the season a little easier."

Photo: Etixx - Quick-Step/ Tim De Waele

IAN STANNARD

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OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD

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TEAM SKY

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21.01.2016 @ 08:30 Posted by Renaud Breban

Ian Stannard has announced that he will not try to keep his title at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The Team Sky rider prefers to focus on the later classics and wants to be in perfect physical condition for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

 

"I am not doing Omloop this year or Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. It’s a bit too early, and we want to change that up a little bit. The idea is to be strong for Flanders week", he told Velonews. "I am going to come into the season a little easier, and it will be good to get another stage race in Paris-Nice. Sometimes you go through the same motions, the same races, the same situation, so it’s nice to spice it up a little bit. I’ve never done Algarve or Paris-Nice, so I am looking forward to it."

 

Sky is really competitive in all of three-week races. But the British team also want to shine in the spring classics. Until now, Sky has been unable to deliver monument  success. That is the priority for the Sky riders.

 

"It would be pretty cool to be the first British rider to win Roubaix. I remember Roger Hammond was third, and Geraint and I were still juniors, and we were in the velodrome, watching him come in. To see that, it made you dream that you could be there in a few years", Stannard added.

 

That dream is closer than ever for Stannard, who’s also been a member of the Tour de France squad where he has done the heavy work in the flat stagesstages. At 6-foot-2, he seems born for the hard stuff.

 

“Banging up a mountain never really appealed to me,” Stannard said. “I remember watching Servais [Knaven], [Johan] Museeuw and [George] Hincapie, absolutely caked in mud that one year, and ever since then, it was part of my imagination. I went out to Belgium when I was younger, and I was able to do some of the races. Racing on the cobbles, in Flanders, it really is special. I really love it.”

 

"It doesn’t happen overnight. In the one-day races, it’s all out, and you’ve really got to know the roads. That’s where the Belgians have a big advantage, they’ve been racing around those roads since they were 14 and know them like the back of their hands."

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