Ian Boswell eyes development with Tour de France and California in mind

Team Sky rider wants to earn a crack at leadership

Ian Boswell's long season came to earlier this month at the Saitama Criterium in Japan but the 25-year-old Team Sky rider is already looking for new objectives for 2017.

The American competed in two Grand Tours this season – the first time he has done so since turning professional – with solid domestique performances in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

In 2017 he is looking to build on that momentum with a place in the team's Tour de France squad and his own leadership challenges in smaller races, both on his to-do list.

"It's been a good year but maybe I didn't get quite as much out of it as I'd wanted. I did two Grand Tours, and doing that on Team Sky is somewhat successful in itself but maybe I expected more performances from myself at a higher level," he told Cyclingnews.

"At the same time I progressed and was stronger at the end of the Grand Tours than in 2015 when I did my first Grand Tour. I still expect to improve and maybe try and lead a race next year. I'd like to put my hand up for that."

There is no certainty that Team Sky will compete in the Tour of California in 2017 but Boswell has form in the race, having finished seventh there in 2015 and shown glimpses of his early promise there as a U23 rider in 2012.

A place on the Tour de France team is not an unrealistic ambition either. Boswell and team leader Chris Froome trained together last winter. Boswell opened his 2016 account at the Herald Sun Tour alongside Froome. The American's development as a consistent domestique in the mountains has impressed the Team Sky management over the last two years and having asked their riders to dream big, that's exactly how Boswell has responded.

"Maybe a race like the Tour of California or Trentino is something I can look at. One of those week-long races in terms of leadership. At the camp Dave Brailsford said he wanted us as riders to set big ambitions for ourselves, so for me that would be making the Tour team."

Team Sky have made a number of changes to their 2017 roster with elder statesmen Nicolas Roche, Ben Swift and Xavier Zandio leaving and a crop of youngsters - Owain Doull (WIGGINS), Jonathan Dibben (Team WIGGINS), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Hagens Berman),and Lukasz Wisniowski (Team Sky), Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) replacing them. Diego Rosa (Astana) is the most experienced new recruit.

Despite recent negative headlines surrounding the team, Boswell saw an upbeat set of riders at their recent post-season camp in the United Kingdom.

"The vibe in the camp was positive. We've some young guys and the team feels a lot younger. We have still experience but there's fresh faces and that showed at the camp. It feels like the youngest team we've had. The guys we have on the team who are leaders, are still young. So riders like Kennaugh and Kwiatkowski, it feels like they're just entering their prime now anyway."

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