Christian Knees is hoping for more of the same this year after enjoying one of the strongest seasons of his career in 2017.
The experienced German produced two typically dependable back-to-back Grand Tour performances, at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, after playing an important team role at the Classics.
And Knees hopes to repeat those three feats in 2018 as he enters his eighth year with Team Sky.
He said: “My goals for 2018 are not that different to 2017. First of all I’ll have the Classics. I still have the dream of being up there in the right moment and in the right position to pull off a great result myself, but if not of course I’m there to support my teammates.
“From there I will try to make it into the Grand Tour teams and try to support our leaders as best I can.”
The 36 year old has been a key part of the team’s Classics lineup since joining the team in 2011. If he makes selection, he will be racing the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix for the fifth consecutive year in 2018.
“The Classics are special,” he explained. “You get a lot of support there - the Flemish are really crazy about their Classics!
“They have a special character. It’s a different style of racing - you have so many little spikes before all the cobbled sections, which makes them pretty hard and not so easy to control as a team. They’re very open, the style of racing is nice and the support we get there is great.”
From there ‘Kneesy’ has his eye on earning selection for the Tour de France again - an experience he relished in 2017, particularly as the race started on home soil.
You could see how much people liked cycling. That was great to see and really great to be a part of that on the road.
He said: “It was a great experience to even make the Tour team and then of course to win it with Froomey. I would say as a team we did a great job there - he might not have won it without us this year.
“And the start was in Germany, which makes it even more special to me. It’s great to be a part of a winning team. I feel like I won it myself, a little bit, especially because this year we won the team GC as well. Standing on that podium on the Champs Elysees was a great moment.
“The start in Dusseldorf was great. I don’t know how much of a boost it gave Germany as a cycling country but that’s only because I don’t actually think we need one.
“I hope some companies will have seen the rich potential cycling has in Germany, because there were 1.5million people out on the side of the roads in bad weather for the Grand Depart. You could see how much people liked cycling. That was great to see and really great to be a part of that on the road.”