Geraint Thomas anticipates unpredictable Giro d'Italia 2017 as Team Sky confirm line-up - Road Cycling UK

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Geraint Thomas anticipates unpredictable Giro d’Italia 2017 as Team Sky confirm line-up

Welshman to co-lead with Mikel Landa

Geraint Thomas will co-lead Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia for the first time, it has been confirmed, with the British WorldTour squad revealing their nine-man line-up for the race.

Starting in Sardinia on Friday (May 5), the 100th Giro d’Italia will see the Welshman join forces with Spaniard Mikel Landa for Team Sky.

Thomas won his final preparation race, the Tour of the Alps, last week, but is prepared to expect the unexpected once the Corsa Rosa gets underway.

“My preparation has gone really well and I’m ready. I can’t wait to get there now,” he said.

“The Tour of the Alps was my last race before the Giro and so to win there was obviously a boost to my morale.

“I know it’s going to be a really strong field at the Giro and it will be a tough, unpredictable race but I’m looking forward to it.”

Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa will co-lead Team Sky at the 2017 Giro d’Italia (pic – Sirotti)

Landa led Team Sky at last year’s Giro d’Italia, and was well-placed, in the top ten overall, when illness forced him to quit at the start of the second week.

The former Astana man won two stages and finished third overall in 2015, and believes the route for the milestone Giro fits his characteristics.

“The Giro is going to be a big challenge but I feel that I am in good form and it’s a challenge I am ready for,” he said.

“As always, it is a race for the climbers and I think that will suit me. We have a strong team and I’m really looking forward to returning to the Giro with Team Sky.”

Thomas is the only Brit in the Team Sky squad, though Ireland’s Philip Deignan is among the supporting cast for what will be his tenth Grand Tour, and first since he crashed out of last year’s Giro.

New recruits Diego Rosa – who rode with Landa at Astana in 2015 – and Kenny Elissonde, who was third at the Herald Sun Tour earlier in the year, will ride their first Grand Tour with Team Sky meanwhile.

Polish rider Michal Golas will serve as road captain, while Italian Salvatore Puccio is part of Team Sky’s Giro line-up for the fourth time in five years.

Sebastian Henao rides his fourth consecutive Giro d’Italia, having finished 17th overall last season and second behind Bob Jungels in the youth classification, and the line-up is completed by three-time Giro stage winner Vasil Kiryienka.

Thomas has been in good form this season, and the race will be his first in a leadership role at a Grand Tour (pic – La Presse-RCS Sport)

Commenting on the line-up, team principal Sir Dave Brailsford says Sky will be ready for hard racing from the get go.

“The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia is going to be a special race. We want to make sure we are a key player in it and that we go there and make our mark.

“We’ve placed a lot of importance on performing well at this race. We have prepared properly for it to give the riders the best chance of making an impact.

“In Grand Tour terms the first serious tests come early on and so we will arrive in Sardinia focused and ready to race from kilometre one.

“We’ve looked at the challenges this edition of the Giro presents and picked a team which we believe can fully support both of our leaders.

“The last week of this Giro will be particularly demanding and the severity of those stages will be determining factors, so making sure we have climbing support in the high mountains has been a key consideration.”

And Brailsford believes the different characteristics of the two riders will play into Sky’s hands, adding: “Both Mikel and Geraint are coming into the race in excellent form and it’s exciting that they will be leading Team Sky into the 100th Giro d’Italia.

“They are two different types of rider and we see this as creating a real opportunity for us.”

Team Sky squad for Giro d’Italia 2017

Geraint Thomas (GBR)
Mikel Landa (ESP)
Philip Deignan (IRL)
Diego Rosa (ITA)
Salvatore Puccio (ITA)
Kenny Elissonde (FRA)
Michal Golas (POL)
Sebastian Henao (COL)
Vasil Kiryienka (BLR)

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