Team Sky reshuffles Porte to Italy, Thomas to lead in Paris-Nice
Team Sky has had to rework its rosters for the upcoming races Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico after its leader for the Italian race, Chris Froome, had to withdraw due to back problems.
Richie Porte will now take on the leading role in Tirreno-Adriatico, rather than defend his title in Paris-Nice. Team Sky will be led by Geraint Thomas at Paris-Nice.
Bradley Wiggins will now skip his debut appearance in Strade Bianche, choosing to focus on Tirreno-Adriatico. He will be replaced on the gravel roads by Ben Swift.
"Slight inflammation in my lower back, so I’ll be putting my feet up for a few days on doctors orders. No racing for me in Tirreno next week," Froome announced on Twitter.
"It’s disappointing to miss out on a week of solid racing, but rather safe than sorry at this point of the season."
Paris-Nice race director Chrstian Prudhomme was incensed at the last minute shift, which leaves his race without the number one dossard.
"We find it cavalier to have the reigning (Paris-Nice) champion pull out just before the start," Prudhomme said, according to AFP.
"We were told that to win points for the world rankings, the Tirreno was more favourable (to Porte) due to its technical characteristics and the presence of an (individual) time-trial."
The organisation chose a course without a time trial nor a decisive summit finish for the first time since 1955, hoping to see a more exciting dynamic on a course which could force a GC battle on just about any stage.
"We wanted to move away from stereotypes and we're going to continue on this path. Bearing in mind it's the riders who decide, we'll keep proposing more open courses. I'm convinced it will be a magnificent race."
Froome will now set his sights on the Volta a Catalunya, according to team doctor Alan Farrell. “Chris has suffered a slight inflammation to the sacroiliac joint in the lower back," Farrell stated. "As a precaution we have chosen to withdraw him from next week’s Tirreno-Adriatico so he can focus on recovering and preparing for the Volta a Catalunya.”
Team Sky’s Performance Manager Rod Ellingworth was not concerned, stating, “This is just a minor setback for Chris and we hope he will get back to full training within a week. He’s obviously disappointed to miss Tirreno-Adriatico but we shouldn’t take any chances at this stage of the season.”
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