Ian Stannard, who returned to Grand Tour action at the Vuelta a Espana this week, has signed a new three-year contract with Team Sky.
Stannard said: “We get the best support in this team and we get looked after really well. The team listen to the riders and involve us in the decisions, and that’s really important in races like the Classics, which is where my goals lie.
“Obviously 2017 hasn’t gone how I wanted. The Classics were disappointing, really. I was hoping to do a lot better and then getting ill and missing out on the Tour wasn’t ideal.
“But I’ve had a nice bit of time off, I’m delighted to be at the Vuelta and I want to play my part here. It’s been a while since I did this race, but Froomey has come here as the favourite so there’s a lot of responsibility on us.”
On his ambitions for the future, Stannard says that he has already started looking forward to next season.
“I’m thinking about next year now and pulling all the pieces together for that. I’ll sit down with Rod [Ellingworth] and go through it - pick this season apart and put a plan in for next year. Paris-Roubaix is the one I really I want to win and I need to try and get that right.”
He’s been with us since day one and he is part of the family. He’s got some good friends in this team and I think he knows he’s supported really well.
“I’m delighted that Ian is staying because I’ve been working with him for a long time. He’s been with us since day one and he is part of the family. He’s got some good friends in this team and I think he knows he’s supported really well.
“It’s really good news. These guys have got other options and there’s lots of teams interested, so it’s great that he’s staying with Team Sky.
“Ian is a really solid bike rider - he plays a crucial role for the team but he can perform individually as well. He covers both grounds there, with the Classics before switching to the Grand Tours.
“He’s bounced back really well from missing out on the Tour de France and he’s come to the Vuelta motivated and in super good shape.
“I know he is still motivated to win the Classics. We’re always talking about changes we can make and how we approach this winter, so I have every confidence in him.”
Stannard has been with Team Sky since we began racing in 2010, and he is full of optimism for the future and excited about the young talent coming through the ranks.
“I’ve been really impressed with the young guys this year. Jon Dibben and Owain Doull were really good in the Classics. They did everything we asked of them to help the team. They were really strong and got stuck in straight away, which was great. They are the type of guys who could go really well there in the future.
“I’ve raced less with Tao, but I was at the BinckBank Tour with him recently. That’s not the sort of racing that necessarily suits him, but to be banging round there, getting really stuck in, shows he has all the pieces to be a great rider.
“It all bodes really well for the future.”