Sky reveals the team that will support Chris Froome's Tour de France challenge

Four Britons feature in a strong line-up, including all the riders who helped Froome to Dauphiné win

by Simon_MacMichael   June 20, 2013  

Team Sky Arc de Triomphe

Team Sky has announced the line-up that it hopes will help Chris Froome succeed Sir Bradley Wiggins as Tour de France champion, with the race starting on Corsica a week on Sunday. All seven men who helped Froome to a convincing win in the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month make the squad, plus Kanstantsin Siutsou. 

Including Froome himself, four Britons will feature in the nine-man team for the 100th edition of the Tour - the others are Geraint Thomas, who skipped last year's race to focus on the Olympics, Ian Stannard, who defends his national road title in Glasgow this Sunday, and Peter Kennaugh, making his debut in cycling's biggest race.

Australia's Richie Porte will be a key support rider for Froome and also gives Sky a credible GC option should the latter's challenge hit a problem, while Edvald Boasson Hagen, who rode strongly for Wiggins last year, is a two-time former stage winner himself.

The Norwegian had to shoulder a heavier-than-expected burden in the mountains last year after Siutsou crashed out with a broken leg in the opening week.

The team is completed by two experienced riders making their first participation in the race for Sky having joined it at the start of this season - the Spaniard, David Lopez, and Vasil Kiryienka, like Siutsou from Belarus. Both Lopez and Kiryienka rode strongly for Froome during his successful pre-Tour campaign.

In terms of supporting an assault on the GC, it's arguably a much stronger line-up than 12 months ago, when Sky had to accommodate Mark Cavendish, and his minder Bernie Eisel, into the squad, even though the team made it clear that helping Cavendish defend the green jersey he'd won a year earlier was not a priority.

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford commented: "Making the final selection of riders has been especially tough this year but we believe that we've found the right combination for the Tour de France. 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 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.”

Froome added: “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. 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 Dauphine, and he has already proved he can win stages at the Tour.

“We’re ready, excited and can’t wait to get going,” he concluded.

 

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Gutted Bernie isn't there Crying

To make my day Liar just need them to ditch Pina now! Angry

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
20th June 2013 - 12:36

8 Likes

Strong

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
20th June 2013 - 12:50

8 Likes

It will need to be, the Saxo team built round Bertie looks impressive too.

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
20th June 2013 - 12:53

5 Likes

so pumped to see them in action

posted by beej.a [40 posts]
20th June 2013 - 13:10

6 Likes

I may be showing my limited knowledge of pro cycling in blazing neon here, but I had Henao and Uran pencilled in to the team - Vuelta with Wiggo then?

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [170 posts]
20th June 2013 - 13:20

9 Likes

Super Domestique wrote:
It will need to be, the Saxo team built round Bertie looks impressive too.

Just looked at their team and it does look very good, but to be honest it doesn't matter how good a team is if its leader starts blowing out of his backside when Froome puts his foot down as in the Criterium.

Time will tell, but i want to see Froome win but with a bit more action in the GC than last year.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
20th June 2013 - 13:26

8 Likes

Henao had a hard first half of the season - he's needed a break, as with Uran and Betancur. FWIW I'll put money on Henao being leader at the Vuelta.

Also for Uran the Giro was really demanding, especially as a GC contender where you had to be at the front all the time (personally I think this is going to tell for Evans). Siutsou's the only Sky rider who's made the Tour squad, but who rode the Giro - but he didnt have to be at the front of the Giro every day, and could conserve energy sometimes in the bunch.

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
20th June 2013 - 13:38

7 Likes

No Eisel then... my meticulous plans for the fantasy league will need another look!

Otherwise, looks like a super-strong team. Wonder how much support EBH will get for bagging a stage win or two? Stages 2,3 and maybe 5 (before the Pyrenees arrive and the team go into full protect-the-Froomedog mode) could be possible targets for him.

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1103 posts]
20th June 2013 - 14:23

13 Likes

No Uran, guess he's off somewhere else next season anyway, no room for Porte, Froome and (maybe) wiggins. Interesting to see if they let him ride the vuelta.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [397 posts]
20th June 2013 - 15:22

10 Likes

Talking of Betancur, he's up for grabs by all accounts at the end of the season.

He would be a good purchase as a new GC man for a whole host of teams.

As for EBH bet365 have him at just short of 2/1 to win a stage.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
20th June 2013 - 15:22

10 Likes

I don't think it's fair to class Eisel purely as Cav's minder. He fulfilled the Road Captain role last year, taking a lot of presure off Wiggo in terms of working with the DS's to decide who gets the water, who rides on the front, who minds the protected rider, etc.

I don't know enough about Lopez and Kiriyenka, but I don't see an obvious candidate to fulfil that role in this line-up. Stannard would be my closest guess, but it is only a guess.

I guess you don't *need* a Road Captain, but it would help take some pressure off the Team Leader.

andyspaceman's picture

posted by andyspaceman [233 posts]
20th June 2013 - 15:22

10 Likes

Completely agree with "andyspaceman" Bernie is a great person to have in the team. I would like any clean rider to win and certainly not a win for Sky. I can't cope with the hype coming from the Sky team. I hope Peter Kennaugh and Ian Stannard have a great debut and Bernie is back with Mr Cavandish next year

posted by IOM Paddy [38 posts]
20th June 2013 - 16:05

8 Likes

Bernie signed a new deal with Sky last year though - I think till 2015 so unless they let him go, he is a Sky rider for a bit.

He should have made the team for sure.

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
20th June 2013 - 16:31

7 Likes

Pretty sure Rogers was the captain on the road last year...

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
20th June 2013 - 17:38

5 Likes

Agree with those saying Bernie should have been in the team. Can't get my head around who's going to be road captain now. He must be terribly disappointed. Think the team will miss him big time

posted by Juliasmiff [1 posts]
20th June 2013 - 17:42

10 Likes

Raleigh wrote:
Pretty sure Rogers was the captain on the road last year...

Bernie and Rogers were co-captains. Bernie kept the bunch in order and was crucial especially during that first week before the first mountain stage. Rogers was the captain in the mountains.

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
20th June 2013 - 18:03

9 Likes

Goldfever4 wrote:
I may be showing my limited knowledge of pro cycling in blazing neon here, but I had Henao and Uran pencilled in to the team - Vuelta with Wiggo then?

I think the reason is that Uran may be out of contract at the end of the year, but also that both Henao and Uran raced early season and per scientific expectations may not be able to carry the good form.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1205 posts]
21st June 2013 - 7:47

9 Likes

Go Geraint!! Lovely Welsh lad he is too. Good luck boys, make us proud.

posted by Not KOM [79 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 8:36

6 Likes