Age: 31 (25/05/87)
Pro Since: 2008
Team: Team Sky
Strengths: Cobbled classics
Favourite Race: Paris - Roubaix
Ian Stannard was born in Chelmsford, UK in 1987. As a teenager he was a member of the British Cycling Academy. In 2007 he enjoyed his breakthrough win on the road in Milano-Brusetto race, a performance good enough to earn an end of season stagaire with the T-Mobile team.
In 2008, Ian turned pro and joined the Belgian Landbouwkrediet team. He gained invaluable experience during his rookie season, competing and finishing in Paris-Roubaix, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. It was his strong showings in these races that caught the attention of many Elite cycling teams.
In 2010, Ian joined the British Sky Pro Cycling team following a year spent with Italian team ISD. Ian got off to a great start in his new Team Sky colours placing 3rd in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on what was a savage day in the wind and rain.In 2011, Ian showed his class winning stage 5 of the Tour of Austria, his first professional victory. He also played key supporting roles; firstly to Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins at the Vuelta a Espana before helping Mark Cavendish win the 2011 World Cycling Championships in Copenhagen.
More success followed in 2012 when Ian became the British National Road Race Champion and subsequently he was selected to represent Team GB at the London Olympic games. In 2013, Stannard made his Grand Tour debut at the 100th edition of the Tour de France supporting Chris Froome in his bid for the yellow jersey. Despite injuries to teammates Edvald Boasson Hagen and Vasili Kiriyenka in the early stages of the race, Stannard and the other supporting five Sky riders rallied impressively and led Chris Froome to victory. Not only had Ian fulfilled the lifelong dream of every pro rider by taking part in and finishing La Grande Boucle but he did so in impressive fashion. Ian made headlines in the latter part of the season with a fine solo ride during Stage 7 of the Benelux Tour, where he was narrowly beaten in the closing stages. In September, he delighted home fans at the Tour of Britain, finishing 7th in the Overall GC and supporting teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins to victory.
Ian began his 2014 season in Australia at the Tour Down Under where he supported team leader Richie Porte. At the beginning of March he enjoyed the biggest victory of his career by becoming the first British winner of Belgian semi-classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Unfortunately his joy was short lived as a couple of weeks later he fractured a vertebra in a heavy crash at the one-day Belgian race Gent-Wevelgem. Although Ian had hoped to be back fully fit for the Tour de France in July, the injury didn't heal sufficiently and he was forced to miss the race. He made his return to competitive cycling at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and a month later lined up alongside teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins at the Tour of Britain. However he was caught up in a crash during the opening stage and forced to abandon the race due to a broken wrist, unfortunately bringing a premature end to his season.
Ian enjoyed another successful season in 2015. He began with a solid showing at the Tour of Qatar before displaying tremendous fortitude to defend his Omloop Het Nieuwsblad title. Up against three Etixx-Quickstep riders in closing kms, he closed down each of their successive attacks before grinding out the victory in the final 100 yards. A podium in the National Championship road race was followed by selection for the Tour de France where much like in 2013, he played an important role aiding team leader Chris Froome to victory.
In 2016, Ian made history by finishing third place at Paris-Roubaix which equalled the best ever British result in the race. In July, he played another vital role in teammate Froome’s third Tour de France victory before finishing the season strongly with an impressive break away stage win at the Tour of Britain.
Ian made a fast start to 2017 picking up an early season stage victory at the Herald Sun Tour. After a quiet Classics campaign, he unfortunately missed out on selection for the Tour de France. However Ian bounced back in style at the Vuelta displaying his superb all round riding ability to help power Froome to victory.
Over the coming seasons, Ian will once again focus on the Spring Classics and hope to earn selection for Team Sky’s Tour de France roster.Photography provided courtesy of Graham Watson and Team Sky.
Homepage image provided by Thomas van Bracht.
Website by @TrinitySports_.