Cycling: Strong supporting cast for Froome in Tour

Team Sky says it has "selected a strong and experienced line-up who will support" Chris Froome.
Team Sky says it has "selected a strong and experienced line-up who will support" Chris Froome.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Chris Froome will have the benefit of a formidable Team Sky support crew as the Briton seeks a fourth Tour de France victory next month.

The British outfit confirmed their rider line-up yesterday for the race, which starts in Dusseldorf, Germany on July 1, with specialist climbers Mikel Landa and Mikel Nieve from Spain and Colombia's Sergio Henao all included.

Trusted sidekick Geraint Thomas, who crashed out of the Giro d'Italia after being brought down by a police motorbike, also makes the list as does Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski, who like the Briton is known for his versatility.

The squad is completed by Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus), Christian Knees (Germany) and Luke Rowe (Britain).

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"The Tour de France is a special race and it would just be incredible to win it for a fourth time," Kenyan-born Froome, 32, winner in 2013, 2015 and last year, said in a Team Sky statement.

"Aiming for that fourth victory has given me a lot of motivation. We're ready as a team and I can't wait for the Tour to start now. Honestly, I just love it.

"It's a feeling that you don't get from any other race."

Team principal Dave Brailsford will be hoping for a smooth ride over the three-week race after a rocky year in which he became embroiled in the "jiffy bag saga".

Mastermind of Team Sky's Tour dominance, Brailsford has been under fire for failing to prove what was in a medical package ordered by a team doctor at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

Team Sky and British Cycling have both been subjects of an investigation by UK Anti-Doping into allegations of wrongdoing in the sport. Both denied any doping violations.

Sky's hopes of winning the Giro were also scuppered when Thomas and Landa were involved in a crash.

"We're really looking forward to the Tour. Chris is in good shape and he's ready for it," Brailsford said.

"We've selected a strong and experienced line-up who will support him, and we'll be looking to use the strength of the team to our advantage."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Strong supporting cast for Froome in Tour'. Print Edition | Subscribe