Cycling

Team Sky announce strong Tour de France squad

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Froome will lead the nine man team. (©GettyImages)
Froome will lead the nine man team. (©GettyImages).

Team Sky have named their nine rider team that they believe will help them capture their second consecutive Tour de France title. 

Lead rider Chris Froome will be the man under pressure to replicate Sir Bradley Wiggins' 2012 triumph, following a successful year that culminated in victory at the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month. 

The 28-year-old is joined by fellow Brits Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh.

Australia's Richie Porte, Spain's David Lopez, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway and Belarusian duo Kanstantsin Siutsou and Vasil Kiryienka complete the squad.

"We have a strong squad," said Team Sky principal Sir David Brailsford to Team Sky’s official website. 

"We have a group of nine riders that are all in great form and ready for the challenge ahead.

"The Tour de France has been the main goal for Chris this season and he goes into the race in great shape. 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 Dauphine and all have raced with Chris successfully at some stage this year."

Froome has won four of the five stage races he has entered this year, finishing second in the other, and seven members of his squad helped him to victory at the Dauphine - a race in which Porte finished second. 

"In Richie we simply have one of the strongest climbers in the world," explained Froome. "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."

Siutsou, who was forced to abandon last year's race after breaking his leg in a crash on stage three, will, like Porte and compatriot Kiryienka, provide support in the mountains.

"Ian, Vasil and Kosta each possess huge engines that you can't go into a Tour without," Froome added. 

"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."

Froome will start the three-week race as favourite to emulate Wiggins and become Britain's second ever winner of the tour. Spain's Alberto Contador, who has won the race twice before, is likely to be his main challenger.

The 100th edition of the Tour de France begins in Corsica on the 29th June, with the final stage finishing on the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday, 21st July.   


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Topics:
Tour De France
Cycling
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