Cycling

Peter Kennaugh to lead Team Sky at Giro d'Italia

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Britons Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift have been included in Team Sky's Giro d'Italia squad along with Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen.

Former Tour de France winners Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome will not race in the Grand Tour with focus on the Tour de France in July, although Wiggins's place in Froome's team is not yet secure.

The Giro's first three days take place in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and Irishman Philip Deignan, a Vuelta a Espana stage winner, has also been named in the team.

The other riders included in the team are Italian duo Salvatore Puccio and Dario Cataldo, the Colombian Sebastian Henao, Austria's Berhard Eisel and the Belarusian Kanstantsin Siutsou.

Although no obvious leader has been appointed at this stage, the Guardian reports that Sky are keen on helping Kennaugh aim for a high placing in the general classification to give the Manxman valuable experience of riding for a high overall finish in a Grand Tour.

Team Sky had planned that Australian Richie Porte would be their main man to challenge for the pink jersey but were forced to reschedule his racing plan because of illness. He has suffered from gastroenteritis which disrupted his early-season preparations – he was forced to pull out of both the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Catalonia – and Sky chose to pull him from the Giro.

The British team acknowledged the threat posed by Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador, whose excellent form of late suggests that he now is ready to challenge Froome after the Spaniard's failed effort last July, and Porte will therefore focus on supporting Froome's title defence.

Without Porte, Wiggins and Froome in the frame for the Giro, Kennaugh seems to have been given a chance to lead the team.

This will be the third time the Manxman lines up for the prestigious Italian race. He finished 86th on his debut three years ago and pulled out after stage 15 in 2012.

He was part of Sky's Tour de France team last year and performed well despite a crash early on showing strength and mental toughness to support Froome in the mountains.

Kennaugh and Swift have performed well for Team Sky's this season. They won a stage each at the Coppi and Bartali Trophy where the Manxman also won overall ahead of teammate Cataldo. Swift finished third in the Milan-San Remo one-day classic and took a stage victory at the Tour of the Basque Country.

Boasson Hagen, who, according to his agent, might be seeking a move to another team willing to give him more opportunities to lead, is also well suited for the three-week tour. Deignan will ride his fourth Giro and will hope for some luck after his season was disrupted by a broken collarbone suffered in February.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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