Thomas and Rowe named in Team Sky squad to support Froome at Tour de France

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Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe named in Team Sky squad to support Chris Froome at 2017 Tour de France

But Pete Kennaugh and Ian Stannard miss out

Geraint Thomas has been named in the Team Sky squad to support Chris Froome at the 2017 Tour de France – but Pete Kennaugh and Ian Stannard have both missed out.

Thomas has recovered from the injuries sustained which led to his withdrawal from the Giro d’Italia to make the nine-man squad, with Luke Rowe’s inclusion ensuring three Britons will line-up for Team Sky in Dusseldorf on July 1.

Kennaugh was widely tipped to make his third Tour de France appearance, having won a mountain stage of the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month and joined Froome on a high-altitude training camp last week, but is a surprise omission from the Team Sky squad.

Chris Froome will attempt to win a fourth Tour de France title when the 2017 race gets underway in Dusseldorf on Saturday July 1 (Pic: Team Sky)

Stannard, meanwhile, has been part of Froome’s support cast for each of the Kenyan-born Brit’s three Tour de France victories, helping to shepherd the 32-year-old through the race’s flat stages, but has been struggling with illness recently.

– Seven key stages that could decide the 2017 Tour de France –

Instead, Froome will receive the backing of Thomas, Rowe, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa and Mikel Nieve.

“We’re ready as a team and I can’t wait for the Tour to start now” – Chris Froome

“The Tour de France is a special race and it would just be incredible to win it for a fourth time,” said Froome. “Aiming for that fourth victory has given me a lot of motivation.

“To me, each Tour tells a different story. Every Tour is a different battle in terms of getting that yellow jersey and then trying to hold on to it.

“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.”

In Stannard’s absence, Rowe, Kiryienka and Knees will be tasked with protecting Froome on the Tour’s flat and wind-prone stages, while Thomas, Henao, Kwiatkowski, Landa and Nieve will provide the main firepower in the mountains.

– Eurosport to broadcast every minute of 2017 Tour de France live –

Froome’s pre-Tour form is something of an unknown quantity having finished fourth at the Criterium du Dauphine – a race he has won in the build-up to each of his three Tour victories, in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

However, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford believes Froome is ready for the challenge.

Pete Kennaugh won a mountain stage of the Criterium du Dauphine but has missed out on a spot in Team Sky’s Tour de France squad (Pic: Alex Broadway/ASO)

“We’re really looking forward to the Tour,” he said. “Chris is in good shape and he’s ready for it. To win the Tour once is a huge achievement, but to win it a fourth time would be remarkable.

“We’ve selected a strong and experienced lineup who will support him, and we’ll be looking to use the strength of the team to our advantage.”

The 2017 Tour de France starts in Dusseldorf on Saturday July 1 with a 14km individual time trial.

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