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Early in his career the 26-year-old Brit focused on the track winning gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2004. More track success followed in 2006 when he won gold in the U-23 Team Pursuit with Geraint Thomas at the European Track Championships. After that, he joined T-Mobile as a trainee in late 2007, then signed with Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner in 2008, and then went on to ISD in 2009, where he was given a chance to ride the Giro d’Italia. He finished 160th overall.
Images: Yuzuru Sunada
Stannard went big in 2010 by signing with Team Sky. Big team. Big budget. Big names. He focused on the Classics right away, finishing third at Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne in bitter conditions. In 2011 he nearly made it home in glory at Gent–Wevelgem, but was passed by a bunch (including eventual winner Tom Boonen) at the last moment. In 2013, Stannard dug deep in miserable conditions at Milan-San Remo (main gallery image above) and showed great form, but ended up sixth in the end (Gerald Ciolek won that day). His victory yesterday at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad puts him on the map for this Classics season. The 6 foot, 2 inch Stannard seems ideally built for the gritty monuments to come, and if the weather is miserable we may seem him on a couple more spring podiums.