With Team Sky on track for a genuine shot at a Tour de France title, the Critérium du Dauphiné demonstrated that boss David Brailsford doesn’t make plans based on blind faith.
There was no modest start for Team Sky. When it officially launched in early 2010, the stated aim of David Brailsford, the team principal, was to “create a British winner of the Tour de France in five years.”
It was an audacious statement of intent and one that, even with Sky’s £30 million backing, sounded so ambitious as to be unrealistic. Even so, you had to respect the gung-ho nature required to so openly declare such an objective. Doing so rallied plenty of support behind the team and its cause, but accomplishing it would be difficult at best, if not nigh on impossible.
Now, just two and a half years later, and after victories in Paris-Nice and the Tour of Romandie, as well as this and last year’s Dauphiné – not to mention the two podium places in 2011’s Vuelta – the target suddenly seems very achievable.
Brad Wiggins and his team’s performances at the Dauphiné were both commanding and they have the look of a force capable of adapting to a race, if not bending it to their will.
Reaching this point has been difficult but the team is certainly on, if not ahead of, schedule. Should we be surprised? Maybe. But then Brailsford has never been a man to set targets he doesn’t think he can hit…
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