British trio Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe have been named in Team Sky’s seven-man line-up for the 2013 Tour Down Under.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, who finished seventh overall in 2012, Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton complete a strong squad which will go into the first WorldTour race of the season with one eye on the Spring Classics.
Australia has been a happy hunting ground for Sky, with Greg Henderson registering the team’s first ever win in the Tour Down Under’s pre-race criterium in 2010, while Ben Swift registered two stage wins en-route to finishing third overall in 2011.
The 2013 People’s Choice Classic criterium will take place on Sunday 20 January, before the six-stage Tour Down Under proper starts on Tuesday January 22.
Meanwhile, Vasil Kiryienka has joined Team Sky from Movistar on a three-year contract.
The 31-year-old Belarusian is a climber-cum-time triallist and will attempt to plug the gap left by Michael Rogers, who last week left Sky for SaxoBank-Tinkoff.
Kiryienka has two Giro d’Italia stage wins to his name and finished sixth overall at the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine, before claiming bronze in the World Championship time trial.
Team Sky directeur sportif Nicolas Portal said: “He can perform very highly in his own right, or in a team capacity, and we know what he is capable of. It puts us in even better shape heading into the big tours of 2013.”
Kiryienka added: “Team Sky have enjoyed a fantastic season in 2012 and I’m looking forward to contributing towards even greater success over the next three years, whether that means working for myself, or for someone else.
“With the help of Team Sky I want to continue developing as a rider. Everyone has made me feel welcome and I am keen to getting started.”