Chris Froome to lead strong Team Sky squad at Vuelta a Espana

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Chris Froome to lead strong Team Sky squad at Vuelta a Espana

British champion Peter Kennaugh and Welshman Luke Rowe part of experienced Team Sky line-up

Chris Froome will be backed by a strong support squad when he returns to action at the Vuelta a Espana after Team Sky’s nine-man line-up was confirmed.

Froome, 29, is one of three Brits in the squad for the final Grand Tour of the season, which starts with a team time trial on Saturday August 23.

Chris Froome will return from injury to lead a strong Team Sky squad at the Vuelta a Espana (Pic: Bruno Bade/ASO)

British champion Pete Kennaugh and Welshman Luke Rowe will also be on the start line as Froome bids to bounce back from the injury which brought a premature end to his Tour de France.

Spaniard Mikel Nieve and Belarussian domestique Vasil Kiryienka are also selected after completing the Tour de France but there is no place for Josh Edmondson and Ian Stannard – both of whom had been included on the team’s provisional longlist.

Instead, Dario Cataldo and Philip Deignan – both of whom impressed at the Giro d’Italia as regulars in the breaks in the mountains – German Christian Knees and Belarusian Kanstantsin Siutsou complete an experienced line-up.

Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “This year’s Vuelta is a great opportunity for us to get back to Grand Tour racing and I’m delighted that we’ll go there with a strong team that’s very capable of performing well.

“Chris Froome will be our team leader and it’s great to have him back on the bike and focused on the challenge ahead. He was obviously very disappointed after having to withdraw from the Tour de France but has recovered and trained well since the injury.

“He’s now more determined than ever to get back to what he does best – riding Grand Tours. We’re all excited, focused and ready to get started.”

Kiryienka, Cataldo, Knees and Rowe all started last year’s Vuelta for Team Sky, with the Welsh rider having made his Grand Tour debut in the race.

Cataldo is a former stage winner in the race – as are Froome, who finished second and fourth overall in 2011 and 2012 respectively, Deignan and Nieve.

Froome finished fourth at his last Vuelta a Espana in 2012 (Pic: Sirotti)

British champion Kennaugh was a surprise omission from Team Sky’s Tour de France squad and will race at the Vuelta on the back of his Tour of Austria success last month.

With a strong support squad alongside him, Froome insists he is capable of challenging overall – and hopes the race will stand him in good stead for the 2015 campaign, too.

He said: “This is exactly the sort of challenge I need after the disappointment of withdrawing from the Tour de France.

“You can’t dwell on disappointment, you have to move on quickly to next thing and the Vuelta has become the perfect race for me to focus on.

“I’ve always really enjoyed racing at the Vuelta. It’s a tough race but a great opportunity for the whole team. I know that the level of competition will be incredibly high this year, but we’ve got a strong line-up so we hope to be as competitive as possible.

“I’m really pleased with how my recovery has gone since the Tour, I’ve been training hard and the support team are pleased with my progress.

“I’m a little bit light on racing days this year so getting a Grand Tour under my belt will not only help me now, but it will also help my preparation for next year.

“Going for the win will certainly be tough, but we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”

Discuss in the forum

Team Sky squad for the 2014 Vuelta a Espana

Chris Froome (GBR)
Mikel Nieve (ESP)
Dario Cataldo (ITA)
Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR)
Luke Rowe (GBR)
Peter Kennaugh (GBR)
Vasili Kiryienka (BLR)
Christian Knees (GER)
Philip Deignan (IRL)

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