Team Sky confirm riders to support Froome at Vuelta a Espana

Thomas and Roche follow Froome from Tour de France

Team Sky have announced the squad that will support Chris Froome at the Vuelta a España, as he attempts to become only the second Tour de France champion to win the Vuelta in the same year. Froome will face the three men that finished behind him in the Tour de France plus Astana’s Mikel Landa and Fabio Aru, who finished on the podium at the Giro d’Italia.

"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,” Froome said in a statement from Team Sky. "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."

Froome rode the Vuelta last season, after crashing out of the Tour on stage five. He finished second to Alberto Contador. He has never finished outside of the top five, finishing second and fourth in his first two attempts respectively. Joining Froome from the Tour squad will be key lieutenants Geraint Thomas and Nicolas Roche. It is the first time that Thomas will ride the Vuelta and it’s also the first time that he will take on two Grand Tour’s in a single season. Thomas looked on course for a strong result at the Tour before he suffered a bad day in the final week that saw him tumble down the standings.

In contrast, Roche has done the Giro-Tour double on four previous occasions. His best performance came on his last attempt in 2013 where he won a stage, worse the leader’s jersey and finished fifth overall. Completing the line-up will be Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Ian Boswell, Salvatore Puccio.

Henao returns to Grand Tour racing for the first time since 2013, after the team pulled him out of racing at the start of last season and he fractured his knee on his racing return at the Tour de Suisse. Christian Knees is also riding his first Grand Tour of the season, while Puccio, Nieve and Kiriyenka have all ridden the Giro d’Italia. Third-year professional Ian Boswell is making his Grand Tour debut.

“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,” said team manager Dave Brailsford. "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."

Team Sky for Vuelta a España: Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Nicolas Roche, Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Ian Boswell, Salvatore Puccio. 

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