Thomas revealed at the end of last year that he would kick his year off in Australia and on Friday, Team Sky announced the seven riders that will race the Tour Down Under alongside the Welshman.
Joining Thomas will be Henao’s cousin Sebastian, Classics men Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard and sprinters Owain Doull and Danny van Poppel.
Thomas has been a regular feature at the Tour Down Under since 2011, and despite indication previously that he would shake up his calendar he has chosen to start on familiar ground. In 2013, he won a stage and went on to finish third in the overall classification. Since that strong year, Thomas’ results at the Australian race have tapered as he looks to peak later in the season.
The elder of the Henao cousins, Sergio, is likely to be the team’s leading general classification contender after finishing third in last year’s race following his second place finish to Richie Porte on the stage to Willunga Hill. Twenty-three year-old Sebastian Henao is making his debut at the race and gives Team Sky more options on the tougher of days.
Together, Rowe and Stannard give the team plenty of firepower on the flat as they look to build their form for the spring Classics. The pair have used the Australian summer as a starting point to their seasons for several years and like Thomas, are already in Australia for some pre-season training in the sun.
Completing the line-up are Doull and Van Poppel, who will target the regular sprint stages. Van Poppel is returning to the race after last riding it in 2014, while Doull is making his WorldTour debut after signing with Team Sky following a two-year stint at Team WIGGINS.
Team Sky for the Tour Down Under: Geraint Thomas, Sergio Henao, Sebastian Henao, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Danny van Poppel, Owain Doull.