Chris Froome and Team Sky arrive in Colombia

Chris Froome and his teammates arrived in Colombia on Sunday night, making an early trip to South America to start a block of pre-season training ahead of the Tour Colombia 2.1 race in mid-February.

Having started his previous seasons either at the Ruta del Sol in Spain or the Herald Sun Tour in Australia, Froome is kicking off 2019 in Colombia, and is using the trip to fit in a block of altitude training in the Antioquia region.

The Tour Colombia will take place from February 12-17, with Froome in a largely South American Team Sky squad that includes 2018 winner Egan Bernal and new signing Ivan Sosa. Sebastian Henao makes it three Colombians on the start line for Sky, while Ecuadorian new signing Jhonatan Narvaez and Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo round out the six-man team.

Shortly after the Colombians arrived in the Antioquia region on Sunday from their hometowns, they were joined by Froome and Castroviejo, who had travelled from Europe with direteurs sportifs Nicolas Portal and Zabier Aretxe. Also making the journey were Italians Gianni Moscon and Leonardo Basso, who will not race the Tour Colombia but will nevertheless take part in the training block.

"Many thanks to the people here in Colombia for the welcome, and thanks to the Colombian Cycling Federation for the invitation," Froome said in Spanish in front of the crowds of Colombian media waiting at the airport.

"It's really a pleasure to be out here," he added in English. "I was here for a few days last year for the Giro de Rigo, I had a fantastic time and am really happy to be back now for the Tour Colombia and also to spend some time here training and getting ready for the season ahead."

With the Tour de France his main objective in 2019, Froome may well use the race to ease his way into the season, but Team Sky will have two 'home' options for the overall title in Bernal and Sosa.

Sosa will be making his debut in Sky colours after a protracted transfer saga that saw him initially announced as a Trek-Segafredo rider before Sky swooped in.

"Froome and Egan are also here but I think the road will decide who will defend the title in the end," Sosa said. "But all of us are very well prepared and ready to do a good job."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1