Team Sky Go Live!
The day British cycling fans got their own team to support finally arrived! Last week, the 26 riders that comprise Team Sky were formally introduced to the nation's public at an introduction ceremony at Millbank, London. So 18 months in the planning, Team Sky make their first formal appearance. This moment represented a major milestone for Team Principle Dave Brailsford who has pain-stackingly pieced the team together from scratch. The riders took to the stage in their new team kit - a fairly conservative blue/black strip (due to be available from adidas) - but one the other pro teams will soon used to seeing. That said, no-one, including Brailsford, was prepared to make any bold statements concerning performance. He preferred to talk in terms of dreams rather than hard-and-fast results.
But let's face it - Team Sky have been put together to win tours - not simply compete. Their team philosophy is designed around the aggregation of marginal gain; assessing the small details that provide the minute difference between winning and not winning. These margins, as with any professional sport, are slim. Team Sky is also considering posting the team's anti-doping results and blood profiles in order to be considered transparent (and clean). This is in addition to Team Sky's own drug testing protocols - which should ensure any rider that competes wearing their jersey is clean.
Much has been made of the formation of the team and Bradley Wiggin's performance in last year's Tour De France. Wiggins is hungry to make the podium in 2010 - but Brailsford was keen to underline it's the team performance that's the key to success, saying "...our goal will be to be as good as we can be."
Joining Wiggins is Ben Swift, having recently switched from the Russian team Katusha after protracted contract negotiations. Swift, 22, from Rotherham, is keen to put uncertainty behind him, saying "It has been hard to concentrate on training when I wasn't sure where I was going, but it has come right in the end." We'll see how Swift (aptly named) does in the Tour Down Under where Team Sky will be competing (it begins on January 19th and will be shown on Sky). Thereafter he'll be lining up in the World Track Championship, due to be held in Copenhagen.
For more information on the team, follow their progress at www.teamsky.com. bikebritain will also keep you posted on future developments.
Quotes from Cycling Weekly, Thursday 7th January
Thumbnail photo credit - www.teamsky.com