Team Sky announces squad for Chris Froome’s Tour de France bid
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Team Sky announces squad for Chris Froome’s Tour de France bid

by Ben Atkins at 8:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Kenyan-born Briton “Ready, excited and can’t wait to get going.”

chris froomeSky Procycling has announced the nine-man team that will defend its Tour de France title in the race, which starts on June 29th. Defending champion Bradley Wiggins was confirmed as having been withdrawn from the team at the end of last month, having been forced out of the Giro d’Italia through illness and injury, ending months of speculation over the team’s leadership going into the race. That role will be taken by last year’s runner-up Chris Froome, with the Kenyan-born British rider having a similarly dominant run up to the race as Wiggins enjoyed in 2012.

As expected, the team is identical to that which carried Froome to victory in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, with the edition of Kanstantsin Siutsou who has had a less heavy programme through June after having ridden the Giro d’Italia. The Belarusian will certainly be hoping for better fortune in this year’s race, having crashed out on stage three last year, to become the only Team Sky rider not to finish in Paris.

“The Tour de France has been the main goal for Chris this season and he goes into the race in great shape,” said Sky team principle Sir Dave Brailsford.  “With four stage-race wins this year Chris has not only grown as a rider but also importantly as a leader.
 
“Around him are eight quality riders who have each earned their place in the team.  They will add the climbing ability and the engines to provide the perfect support for Chris, especially in the crucial mountain stages. 
 
“We've seen what this group are capable of at the Dauphiné and all have raced with Chris successfully at some stage this year.
 
“We have got a very strong squad for the Tour and we’re all looking forward to getting underway.”

Aside from the obvious absence of Wiggins - who has yet to recover to full fitness after pulling out of the Giro d’Italia - and Michael Rogers and Mark Cavendish - who both left the team at the end of 2012 - the team has a similar look to that of last year. Of the others in the 2012 team, German Christian Knees rode the Giro in support of Wiggins, while Austrian Bernhard Eisel will be disappointed to miss out on a place.

Those that weren’t riding in support of Wiggins last year are Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas - whose 2012 season centred on the London Olympic Games - and Vasil Kiryienka and David López - who were both recruited from Movistar this season to replace those that have left the team. Current British champion Ian Stannard - who will defend his red, white and blue banded jersey on Sunday - also makes the team and - like Kennaugh - is set to make make his Tour de France debut.

“I’m delighted with the balance in this team and every one of these riders is going to play a pivotal role once the racing begins,” said Froome. “Most of us were at the Critérium du Dauphiné and I was hugely impressed there with the way the team came together in control of the leader’s jersey.  It gave me huge faith and I could not be happier with the selection.
 
“Ian, Vasil and Kosta each possess huge engines that you can’t go into a Tour without.  They will be controlling things on the front for long periods of the race and pacing me once the climbing begins.  Geraint, David and Pete will then take up the reins.  Those guys have really improved their climbing abilities and will be a massive help when the pace really ramps up in the mountains.
 
“In Richie we simply have one of the strongest climbers in the world.  He is another rider who’s more than capable of winning a Grand Tour in his own right.  Having him in our ranks gives us a number of different options to play.  The same applies with Edvald – he is flying after his victories in Norway and the Dauphiné, and he has already proved he can win stages at the Tour. 
 
“We’re ready, excited and can’t wait to get going.”

Sky Procycling team for the Tour de France
Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, David López, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas

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