Team Sky’s Ian Stannard kick started his 2014 racing season last week – his fifth year racing with Britain’s top racing outfit – in the boiling heat of South Australia and demonstrated once again what an asset he is to his team.
The six day Tour Down Under is based around the city of Adelaide and gives the riders an opportunity to start their season in superb racing conditions although the extreme heat experienced this year proved to be a baptism of fire for many.
Ian and his team-mates flew to Australia just before the New Year and so had some time to recover from the journey, train, and get used to the heat.
But that’s possibly why after the opening stage he said, commenting about the damp British weather: “Fog’s lovely and cold. I know what I’d rather be racing in!”
The race kicked off with a 135km stage that saw Team Sky’s leaders for the race, Aussie Ritchie Porte and London 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Geraint Thomas well placed after the season opening efforts.
After that opening stage Ian said: “It was tough. The first race for quite a few months so I was blowing a few cobwebs out.
“Especially up the hills it was pretty grippy. We’ve done a few hard days [training] out here but it doesn’t compare to racing.
“That last climb really got some people, including me.”