Great Britain and Team Sky rider Ian Stannard is relishing his time in the national road champion’s jersey and is already plotting his exploits for the 2013 campaign.
The 25-year-old was victorious at the British National Road Race Championship in Ampleforth in June with a lone break to follow in the footsteps of teammates Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins.
The British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider is now targeting further success on the international stage having endured a demanding year featuring the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and being in Team GB’s five-man squad for London Olympic road race.
“I’ve really enjoyed riding in the national champion’s jersey so far and it’s nice to have that extra bit of visibility,” Stannard told the Official Team Sky website.
"G (Geraint Thomas) and Bradley (Wiggins) have both done some pretty amazing stuff in it over the last few years so hopefully I can follow suit next season.
"It’s one of the most iconic jerseys out there with a very rich history, so it’s cool to be wearing it and I definitely want to do it justice.
“I don’t feel pressure purely by wearing the jersey though, I’d put that pressure on myself irrespective of what jersey I’m wearing. It would be nice to progress and win some big races wearing that jersey – and do it proud – but the type of rider I am I’d like to do that anyway.”
Renowned for his selfless work rate in the peloton, Stannard believes the campaign has been invaluable to his development as a rider. Away from the domestique role he has often performed for Team Sky and GB, he highlights the Spring Classics as a personal goal for the coming season.
“Looking back on 2012, it’s been a good season,” assessed Stannard, who was part of the Great Britain team which helped Mark Cavendish to world championship glory in 2011.
“I’ve enjoyed the racing throughout and feel I’ve progressed as a rider, both in terms of my strength and tactical nous. I think there’s still a lot more to come though and I want to step it up again next year. I do have goals in 2013 but the most important thing is to ride my bike, have fun and enjoy it, and hopefully that can have the knock-on effect of inspiring people to do the same.”
“The Classics are always big races for me, and now that (Juan Antonio) Flecha is moving on to pastures new I’d like to step up and try to exceed the results he’s got for us over the last three seasons by winning one of these big one-day races.
“As for the rest of my season, it would be great to ride another Grand Tour, and maybe even the Tour de France. That’s all to be decided in the future though so I’m not really thinking about it at this point.”
In a year which has seen unprecedented success for British cycling featuring the London Olympic Games and Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France success, Stannard is proud to have helped in cycling’s rise.
“The support we’ve had has been unbelievable and it’ll be great to experience that again next season. Back home as well, it’s great to see that we’ve played a part in this current boom in cycling. It’s nice to know we’re inspiring people to keep fit and healthy.”