Shane Sutton is back in the action again. The former Team Sky coach and Technical Director is now working on a new professional Chinese cycling team that hopes to join the WorldTour in 2020.
The stated goal of the Global Cycling Project is to develop the first Chinese winner of the Tour de France by 2024.
Wow, that sure sounds ambitious considering there’s only one Chinese rider, Meiyin Wang of Bahrain-Merida, in the pro peloton at that level. Quick, scour the entire country, where is the Chinese Wiggins?
That was Team Sky’s plan when the English team launched in 2010 to much fanfare and bold promises of clean cycling and transparency. They thought it might take five years to win the Tour de France but instead Wiggins and Sky needed only three years to take the maillot jaune in Paris.
We suppose that’s where Sutton comes in — a man so instrumental to the success at Sky and in particular with Bradley Wiggins. Sadly, what later emerged was that Sutton had a bad habit of pushing ethical boundaries and using Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TEU’s) as a means of gaining a performance advantage.
He was forced to resign after a report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee alleged Team Sky used drugs allowed under anti-doping rules “to enhance the performances of riders, and not just to treat medical need.”
Given that bit of history, we can’t help but wonder what corners Sutton would be willing to cut for China’s Global Cycling Project. He’s got five years to put a Chinese rider on the top step of the Tour de France podium.