Stage seven of the Tour of Britain saw Ian Stannard storm to victory with a superb breakaway victory and we invited aspiring photojournalist Flynn Cross to spend the day with the team behind the team. Here are Flynn's thoughts and pictures from a very wet and windy day in the midlands. Over to you, Flynn...

Flynn Cross

Flynn Cross

Last year, being a more than passive supporter, I travelled to Nimes with the plan of witnessing the flag drop of the Vuelta a Espana. Yet I found more than I hoped for after bumping into Sir Dave Brailsford himself, and discussing the possibility of a short ‘internship’ in the ensuing conversation. Nevertheless, I expected nothing would come of it, but Team Sky subsequently got in touch and offered me the opportunity to take some photographs with the team on stage seven of this year’s Tour of Britain, just around the corner from my home in West Bridgford.

But whilst capturing some highlights of the day on which Ian Stannard soloed to a euphoric victory for the team, I experienced aspects that are simply hidden from view when standing on the other side of the barriers. This is my take on following a race as part of Team Sky:
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They try never to refuse requests

Now, I am not attempting to bankrupt the team via the means of handing out bidons, but simply sharing how patient they were in attempting to fulfil each spectator’s requests. This spanned from each rider taking nigh on half an hour before and after the stage for signing autographs and posing for pictures, to the carers passing out musettes to anyone with a young child who asked nicely enough.
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Team Sky travel in style

If the multitude of Ford vehicles look impressive on the outside, that has nothing on the inside. When having to wait two hours for the riders to bypass the feed zone, heated leather seats and generous leg room certainly helps (disclaimer: I am by no means suggesting Team Sky staff sleep on the job!).
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Chris Froome is perennially polite

Chris Froome always says thank you. Always. According to Performance Manager Rod Ellingworth, when receiving his last feed on the infamous stage 19 of this year’s Giro d'Italia, after conquering the last hour or two in solitude at the head of affairs, Chris responded to the offer of a bottle with a chipper ‘no thank you'.
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Rain is good for photos, not so much for white trainers

Whilst the collection of disgruntled riders and my fairly new pair of shoes may disagree, mud-splattered jerseys certainly help add to the drama of the images, even without turning Retford into Roubaix.
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Eat when you can

Not only do the riders need fuelling, but also the staff. When you’re constantly needed somewhere else, forgetting to eat is easy, and there are not many opportunities to stock up.
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I feel I also need to thank everyone who helped organise this for me and take me around yesterday. I had an excellent time, mainly down to how welcoming and friendly the whole team were.
Chris Froome and Flynn after the stage

Chris Froome and Flynn after the stage

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