Ian Stannard is intent on keeping his Sky team-mate Chris Froome in yellow for the remainder of the Tour de France, but hopes one day to be given a shot at victory.
Froome captured the lead of the race, and with it the ‘maillot jaune’ after a brilliant break to win stage eight on Saturday.
But now the hard work begins for MK rider Stannard as he puts himself on the line to protect his team leader and guide Team Sky to their second consecutive Tour de France victory.
“We’re half way through the road book now,” said Stannard. “That’s good for morale. We’ve got a couple of sprinters stages this coming week so they won’t be pressure days for us.
“In the time trial I just have to get round, it’s not my job in the Tour to be trying to set a time.
“And then it’ll be the weekend, one big day in the mountains and then another rest day.
“Then we’ll be on the homeward leg. I’m carrying a few bruises but I’m here to do one job and that’s the get Froomy into Paris in yellow. And that’s what I’m going to do!”
On Monday, Stannard, who is ranked 166th in the Tour standings, was able to take a day off as the Tour took in a rest day.
Still suffering with the bumps and bruises he picked up after a fall on the opening stage, the 26-year-old got some much-needed physio work on Monday, while trying to recharge his batteries ahead of some tough stages in the coming week.
Stannard said: “It was a rest day but as with everything on the Tour, it’s not what it first seems to be.
“We had an 8am dope control, then I had physio, breakfast, we went on a 90 minute ride just to keep the body ticking over, then a two hour press conference and back to the hotel for a massage.
“It’ll be more restful to get back into the race!”
But some of that pain will have been numbed by Ian having played his part in helping Chris Froome, Sky’s team leader, take a stage win in this year’s first mountainous stage that also saw Froome move into the race leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday evening.
But Sky lost Belorussian Vasil Kiryienka after he finished outside the time limit on Sunday and so Ian will have to take on further responsibilities as one of the team’s key domestiques, protecting Froome and helping to chase down any attacks on the race leader.
And Stannard admitted it’s a lot of pressure to be riding for the team leading the Tour, though added he’d love to be in Froome’s position.
He said: “That’s something really special and at the same time stressful but you can see what you’ve been working hard for. But I wish it could be me! Perhaps another year!”