Team Sky want to be ‘indisputably and consistently’ the world’s premier cycling team by 2020, after team principal Sir Dave Brailsford outlined their five-year plan.
It is five years since Britain’s only WorldTour team joined the peloton at cycling’s elite level, a period which has included two Tour de France victories, and having reflected on that first half-decade Brailsford is keen for Sky to push on even further in the next five years.
Sky’s sixth year in cycling’s top tier will begin at the Santos Tour Down Under later this month with Richie Porte, having already regained his national time trial title, set to lead the team in his home country.
“By 2020 I want Team Sky to be recognised as a beacon of sporting excellence after a decade of sustained success,” he told the team website.
“And how we have done it matters just as much as what we have done. And, above all, why we have done it matters most of all – for the love of cycling.
“Our mission for 2020 is very simple – for Team Sky to be indisputably and consistently the best cycling team in the world, and to be viewed as one of the very best sports teams in the world.
“The first chapter of Team Sky was successful. We set out to win the Tour de France, to do it clean and to do it with a British rider. We have done that twice. And we have helped inspire a million more people in the UK to take up cycling.
“But it is in our DNA to think that we could have gone further, that we could have achieved more. And we are now hungrier than ever.”
Titled their ‘2020 vision’, Sky’s aims include achieving consistent success across the board – not just at Grand Tours but at the Classics and Monuments too where, so far, victories have been hard to come by.
Sky strengthened their riding personnel significantly this winter, with Nicolas Roche (from Tinkoff-Saxo), Leopold Konig (from Team NetApp-Endura) and Elia Viviani (from Cannondale) among six new signings.
And Brailsford believes the room for improvement remains vast, despite the team recording 165 victories in all since their formation in 2010.
He explained: “The fact that we did manage to meet all of our objectives, on one level, is great. But in a culture like Team Sky’s, which is built on constantly asking if we could do better, success means never resting on our laurels.
“I am immensely proud of the team but it is in our DNA always to think that we could have done more and pushed the boundaries further. And we learned a lot.
“We learned that in a sport as competitive as this, you never stay ahead for long. So we must innovate better, smarter and faster.
“We have learned massive amounts about human performance, but there is still so much more we can do, and the opportunity for collaboration is vast.”
Sky also hope to continue to play a leading role in enhancing the image of professional cycling – and are one of the 11 WorldTour teams to have formed the Velon group.
And Brailsford believes Velon is just the start as cycling looks to embrace innovation and technology and improve the spectacle of the sport.
“Our vision is to continue to play a leadership role in charting a better future for this great sport of ours and changing the culture that so damaged it,” he said.
“That means continued leadership on anti-doping. But much more than that, we want Team Sky to be at the cutting edge of innovation and a reference point for excellence in human performance.
“And the purpose of all this is very simple – to do everything we can to make more people fall in love with cycling so it can have a positive impact on their lives.
“For me professional cycling is still poorly appreciated – the athleticism and application of riders over sustained periods is unparalleled. And that is the tragedy of doping – it undermines a magnificent sport and belittles the achievements of the world’s finest athletes.
He added: “I want Team Sky to continue to help chart a brighter future for the sport.
“There is something spell binding about seeing a rider break away from the pack on a climb. But what if we could actually know what exactly was happening to the bike, and to the body pedalling it, at that time?
“How much richer would the experience of following the sport be? Again, we will have more to say on this.
“The initiative with Velon is only the start – we applaud the collaboration between the professional teams to strengthen our sport through a shared vision to get more fans closer to cycling.”