Sky Road Team Announced
Dave Brailsford: "We want to make heroes, persuade a generation to pull on Team Sky colours and inspire people to ride. This will be an epic story; building a British team to take on the best in professional cycling, and win."
Team Sky will build on the principles that make British riders a consistent success on the track and will support Sky's work as Principal Partner of British Cycling, fuelling the sport from grass roots to elite level.
Team Sky will aim to:
Create the first British winner of the Tour de France, within five years
Inspire people of all ages and abilities to get on their bikes, through the team's positive profile, attitude and success
Add further support to competitive cycling in Great Britain.
Announcing Team Sky, Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky, said;
"Sky has a core belief in the power of sport - we want to get people involved. We are hugely impressed by Dave Brailsford, inspired by the success of British riders and excited about embarking upon this ambitious project together.
"Sky is already the principal partner for British Cycling, supports the Youth Sport Trust through Sky Sports Living for Sport and invests heavily in British sport. Team Sky builds on this and will inspire people of all ages and abilities to get out and ride, for fun, for fitness, and for the environment."
Dave Brailsford CBE, Team Principal for Team Sky, said:
"This has been a dream for some time and now Sky is making it happen. It wouldn't work without them. Team Sky will bring to a professional road team the performance principles that have worked so well with the current GB teams; commitment, meticulous planning, the aggregation of marginal gains and a rider-centred philosophy. We want to make heroes, persuade a generation to pull on Team Sky colours and inspire people to ride. This will be an epic story; building a British team to take on the best in professional cycling, and win."
Team Sky will have a core of British riders, coaches and support staff and its HQ will be in Manchester, home to the GB cycling team. It will compete from the start of 2010, throughout the calendar, with the objective of gaining an invitation to the Tour de France. The race schedule will include the Tour of Britain, a chance to showcase the team on home ground.
An initial squad of around 25 riders will be recruited during the 2009 calendar year. They will be supported by a team of coaches, technicians and support staff from across the cycling world, many of whom work throughout the year with British elite and developing riders. Team Sky will now start to recruit key personnel and approach commercial partners to support the new team.
Dave Brailsford, who led Britain's Olympic team to 14 medals including eight golds at the Beijing Games, will continue to lead British success as Performance Director of British Cycling. He added;
"Team Sky will only enhance British prospects, with riders, and especially up-and-coming talent, benefiting from a pro team set-up that gives them the best training and support in an environment that will help them to develop. The team is a natural evolution for the Olympic programme as the quantity and calibre of British riders continues to grow."
Brian Cookson, President of British Cycling said:
"This is an ambition that many of us have had for some time - to see a British-based professional team competing at the highest level in the Tour de France and the classic road races of the world. The success we have had through the programmes developed and delivered over the last decade or so, has meant that the circumstances are now right for British Cycling to take on this huge new challenge.
Having guided the GB Cycling Team to tremendous success in Beijing, Team Sky represents a great new challenge for Dave Brailsford, who has achieved so much since joining British Cycling.
We fully support Dave in this exciting initiative and are confident that with his skills and experience, with the support of the superb team of coaches, managers, and other back-up staff, and with the raw talent and dedication of the riders, all combined with the resources of SKY, we can further raise the profile of cycling in Great Britain with the objective of getting a British rider to win the Tour de France by 2013."
Ian Drake, CEO of British Cycling said:
"Team Sky is an exciting new venture and fully complements British Cycling's grassroots and Elite programmes. This new British pro team will further aid us in inspiring more people to participate in cycling through achieving worldwide success.
The GB Cycling Team was hugely successful at 2008 Beijing Olympics and has already started its preparations for London 2012, and I am fully confident Team Sky will assist in us achieving our goals in 2012."
Since becoming Principal Partner of British Cycling last summer Sky has used its relationship with millions of homes to encourage families to get out and ride in order to help their health, their fitness and the environment. The Sky Sports London Freewheel in September brought more than 50,000 recreational riders together to ride traffic-free streets in the heart of London.
Sky is also working with British Cycling to develop a range of inspiring events, to make cycling fun, easy and accessible to all, which will be announced in the spring.