After joining Team Sky as a rider in 2010, Nicolas Portal made the switch to Sports Director a year later after calling time on an enviable road career which included a stage win at the 2004 Criterium du Dauphine and six Tour de France appearances.
The amiable Frenchman impressed while learning the ropes in his first season, and in 2012 played his part in 13 victories.
“2012 was an amazing year,” he admits. “To end the season as the number one team in the world was an achievement that was fully deserved.
“The staff and riders were all 100% committed to the cause and we achieved all our major targets.”
Portal was in the second team car for the successes at the Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and Giro del Piemonte, and also helped orchestrate three stage wins in his debut Grand Tour as a DS at the Giro d’Italia.
After being granted lead duties at the Tour de Pologne, Portal guided Ben Swift to two stage triumphs and was handed that responsibility once again at the Vuelta a Espana.
He added: “During my second year I was more relaxed operating at a higher level. As a Sports Director it is brilliant to say I was a part of that campaign.
“For 2013 we need to try and stay at the top. We have new goals, new riders, and it will be an exciting year, for sure.
“We need to use the experience we’ve gained now to try and stay on the front foot. It will not be easy. We don’t want to dwell on the achievements of last year but we can always keep these in mind so we know what we are capable of as a team.”