Ahead of his 2016 racing debut Chris Froome (Team Sky) has arrived in Australia for the Herald Sun Tour. The two-time Tour de France winner leads a strong team with support including Peter Kennaugh and Sergio Henao.
Froome is using the Herald Sun Tour to kick-start his 2016 campaign, with the defence of his Tour de France crown and the Olympic Games firmly fixed as his top objectives. He competed in the Sun Tour in 2008, finishing fourth behind overall winner Stuart O’Grady. The event marks Froome’s first competitive outing since last year’s Vuelta a Espana, a race he was forced out of through injury.
“I’m looking forward to starting my season,” Froome said.
“The Sun Tour is certainly a race I have great memories of from 2008, particularly the awesome time trial by Stuey, but I also have great memories of the Commonwealth Games.”
“My training has been going well and obviously I’m not in Tour de France form just yet, so it might be tough to win, but we have a strong team so look forward to racing.”
The race, which is about to start for the 63rd time, begins on February 3 with a 2.1 kilometre prologue through Melbourne. Along with Kennaugh and Henao, Team Sky arrives with promising American rider Ian Boswell, who impressed during the Dauphine in 2015 and who is vying for a shot in the Giro d’Italia this May.
Luke Rowe, who will have his chances in the Spring Classics later this season, is also in the team. Former Giro d’Italia leader Salvatore Puccio rounds out the squad.
“This is our first time racing the Jayco Herald Sun Tour so we’re all excited to be here,” added sports director Gabriel Rasch.
“It’s always a very competitive race and I’m pleased to have a strong group of talented riders.
“Chris Froome kicks off his 2016 season here and it will be his first competitive race since last year’s Vuleta, so we’re looking forward to seeing him back on the bike.”