Chris Froome tops strong Team Sky squad at Vuelta a Espana

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Chris Froome backed by strong Team Sky squad for Vuelta a Espana

Geraint Thomas returns as domestique in experienced nine-man line-up

Chris Froome will be joined once again by Geraint Thomas as Nicolas Roche as the Team Sky man bids to follow his Tour de France success with Vuelta a Espana victory.

The Kenyan-born Brit heads a strong nine-man line-up for the race with Thomas and Roche –two of his key domestiques at the Tour – once again offering support.

Geraint Thomas will be at Chris Froome’s side again as Team Sky’s leader bids for a Tour-Vuelta double (pic: Sirotti)

Sergio Henao, on the back of his stage win and top-ten finish at the Tour of Poland will be another hugely valuable ally in the mountains, while Mikel Nieve – a former stage winner and top-ten finisher – is also included.

Germany’s Christian Knees and Belarus’ European time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka offer plenty of experience, while Grand Tour debutant Ian Boswell and Italy’s Salvatore Puccio complete the line-up.

And Froome – runner-up to Alberto Contador last year, the third time he has finished in the top four at the Vuelta – believes he has recovered well from the Tour.

“I have great memories from this race so I’m pleased to be back. I’ve had a good rest after the Tour and now I’m ready for my next challenge,” he said.

“It will certainly be a very competitive race given the strong field – which will be great for the fans to watch. The competition will be tough and this is bike racing so anything can happen, but we have an excellent team and we’re ready to get the race started.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: “It’s been an unforgettable summer for us after winning the Tour de France for the third time, but it’s important to move on quickly, realign our goals and focus on the new challenges ahead.

“We’ve selected a strong squad for the Vuelta that has the right blend of talent and experience to support Chris Froome through the tough three weeks ahead.”

Froome will face stiff competition for the red jersey, with Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana and third-placed Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde set to renew their rivalry with the Team Sky man.

Froome was second at last year’s Vuelta, finishing behind Alberto Contador as the two enjoyed a memorable battle for the red jersey (Pic: Sirotti)

Tejay van Garderen, who was set for a podium finish at the Tour until illness forced him to abandon, leads BMC Racing meanwhile.

Astana also boast a hugely strong squad with former champion Vincenzo Nibali one of three possible GC hopes, alongside Giro d’Italia runner-up Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa, who finished third at the Corsa Rosa.

Froome and Thomas are the second and third Brits to be confirmed for the race, with Tour de France stage winner Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) already announced.

Team Sky for Vuelta a Espana 2015

Chris Froome (GBR)
Geraint Thomas (GBR)
Nicolas Roche (IRL)
Sergio Henao (COL)
Mikel Nieve (ESP)
Vasil Kiryienka (BLR)
Christian Knees (GER)
Ian Boswell (USA)
Salvatore Puccio (ITA)

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