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Team Profiles: Team Sky
The British cycling giants
Posted Sep 15, 2011 by Chris White
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Based in Manchester and managed by Dave Brailsford, Team Sky were formed on the back of a £30million sponsorship deal from the media giants, running until 2013, and they set themselves the ambitious aim of winning the Tour de France within five years.
With Brailsford at the helm, Sean Yates was named as the head Directeur Sportif with Marcus Ljungvist and Steven de Jongh assisting. Nicolas Portal joined as a Directeur following his retirement and Servais Knaven joined in time for the 2011 season.
The team began competing in 2010 using Pinarello frames and forks, with the intention of building a 25-man squad based around British riders, nurturing the young talent in Britain towards the Tour de France goal.
The first men signed up to ride for the British team were Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings, Russell Downing, Ian Stannard, Peter Kennaugh and the man who just finished second in the Vuelta a Espana, Chris Froome.
A number of foreign riders were signed up in time for their debut season, including Edvald Boasson Hagen and more Brits including the man who came third in the Vuelta, Bradley Wiggins, and hot-prospect Ben Swift joined from Team Katusha.
In their debut race at the Cancer Council Helpline Classic in Australia, a warm-up race prior to the Tour Down Under, Greg Henderson and Chris Sutton took a one-two for Team Sky, giving them the best possible start to the ProTour.
Wiggins became the first member of the team to lead a Grand Tour, winning the opening round of the Giro d’Italia, but success was hard to come by for the remainder of the season, with a best placed finish at Le Tour of 17th courtesy of Thomas Lofkvist.
2011 started much better for Team Sky with Ben Swift winning two stages of the Tour Down Under, finishing in third place overall. At the Giro d’Italia, Lofkvist was the highest placed Sky rider finishing 21st.
Rigoberto Uran was the highest placed finisher for Team Sky at the 2011 Tour de France, coming 24th overall, while Boasson Hagen picked up two stage victories.
Bradley Wiggins impressed in front of his home fans as he went on to win the 2011 UK Road Race.