David Lopez stays with Team Sky for 2017

British team retains core of squad after successful season

David Lopez has revealed he will continue to ride for Team Sky in 2017 after confirming his ability as one of Chris Froome's key mountain domestiques at the Vuelta a Espana.

Lopez is one of 22 riders retained by Team Sky for the 2017 season. Last week the British WorldTour team confirmed that Elia Viviani has inked a new deal and announced that Kenny Elissonde, Diego Rosa will join the team, bolstering the squad's roster for Grand Tours.

Also joining Team Sky for 2017 are talented Young British riders Owain Doull and Tao Geoghegan Hart, plus Poland's Lukasz Wisniowski. Several riders are leaving including Nicolas Roche (BMC), Ben Swift (TJ Sports), Andy Fenn and Lars Petter Bordhaug (Acqua Blue Sport), while Zabier Xandio is expected to retire.

Lopez, 35, rode both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, clocking up a total of 85 race days during the 2016 season.

"It's always difficult to renew a contract and continue on this team because there is such a level. This year the Tour team did a very good race. But in the end they recognized the good work I did in the Vuetla a Espana. I feel part of the team and I've been part of the squad for five years. I am pleased to continue with Team Sky, next year I will be one of the veterans in the team."

Lopez was with Froome when the Briton was attacked by Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana on the stage to Formigal at the Vuelta a Espana, losing any chance of winning overall. Lopez considers it a vital lesson learnt for the future.

"It is proof that it's not so easy to win a three week stage race. You must pay attention every day, it is difficult to take time and any time you mess up, things get complicated. Clearly we all failed that day,” he admitted.

"He (Froome) had won the Tour, ridden the Olympics and so it's not easy to stay focused. Nevertheless, he was physically strong and could have won. But not always the strongest wins. That's cycling. The team has learned a lot from that day for the future. Hopefully it will not happen again."

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