Team Sky are not British

They are in one sense, in that they have their roots in British Cycling and have their main base at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. But in a more meaningful sense – from my perspective – they’re not, because they have fewer and fewer British cyclists. The Britishness increasingly seems like a branding exercise.

Here are the nine Team Sky riders for the Tour de France. Let’s sidestep the question of Froome’s Britishness by saying that there are, at most, two British riders in this team.

  • Chris Froome – age 29 – Great Britain
  • Richie Porte – age 29 – Australia
  • Geraint Thomas – age 28 – Great Britain
  • Mikel Nieve – age 30 – Spain
  • Bernhard Eisel – age 33 – Austria
  • Vasil Kiryienka – age 32 – Belarus
  • David López – age 33 – Spain
  • Danny Pate – age 35 – USA
  • Xabier Zandio – age 37 – Spain

There’s even an American. Nothing is less British than fielding an American. Yet the marketing efforts continue. Here’s Froome on what it’ll be like to start the Tour on British roads:

“There’s no greater motivation for us than riding in front of our UK fans.”

Really? Has Vasil Kiryienka been dreaming of wheeling through Holmfirth ever since he was a young lad in Rechytsa? Has Xabier Zandio been training hard deep into his thirties just for a chance to say goodbye to his legions of British fans?

Or is it more that you’d like the support and are kind of hoping that no-one on this green, damp isle will notice that Sky isn’t really all that British after all.