The team have decided not to derail the Tour de France preparations of either Geraint Thomas or Chris Froome and, as Cyclingnews reported on Monday, have awarded Eddie Dunbar with his Grand Tour debut.
The Irishman impressed at the recent Tour de Yorkshire and will add an attacking element to the team as they hunt stage wins and develop their next crop of stage racing talent.
Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart, who both recently tasted success at the Tour of the Alps, have both been announced as part of the eight-man Giro d’Italia team. Sebastian Henao, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio, Jhonathan Narvarez and Ivan Sosa have also been named within the squad.
Gianni Moscon, who was originally down to ride the race, has been moved to the Tour of California, with the team concerned with the Italian's form ahead of a Grand Tour.
- Tough decisions for Team Ineos after Bernal’s Giro d’Italia miss
- Egan Bernal out of Giro d’Italia after collarbone break
- Dunbar set to make Giro d'Italia debut after Yorkshire showing
- Chris Froome hits back at 'double standards' after Ineos' Yorkshire unveiling
Sivakov and Geoghegan Hart, who both made their Grand Tour debuts at last year’s Vuelta a España, will lead the Team Ineos challenge for the maglia rosa, according to the team. Sivakov failed to finish the Vuelta in 2018, while Geoghegan Hart finished 62nd overall in Madrid.
"Over the last two seasons we have been bringing together a carefully selected group of young riders who we believe to be the future of our team," Dave Brailsford said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
"Whilst very much in the learning and development phase of their careers, we have nevertheless already seen them taking great strides forwards this year with Egan, Pavel and Chris Lawless all winning stage races and Tao, Ivan, Jhonatan, Sebastian and Eddie all riding exceptionally well. With this developmental goal in mind, we have chosen to field our youngest-ever team for a Grand Tour and it’s fitting it should be our first one as Team Ineos. Egan’s injury is a real shame as he was to lead the team in a Grand Tour for the first time. However, I’m sure he will be fighting fit come July."
Knees’ experience from 19 Grand Tours will prove vital for such a young team, but Henao, who finished 17th in the 2017 edition of the Giro, will also be relied upon. The Colombian failed to make a Grand Tour team in 2018 but has been a dependable mountain domestique since joining the team. Puccio has also been a mainstay for the squad in the Giro for several years, only missing the race once since 2013.
Without a genuine top-level sprinter within their ranks, and with little time to prepare after Bernal’s late injury, Brailsford admitted that the team’s approach would not alter too much.
"We will not dramatically change our approach to the race as we will still look to give each rider the greatest developmental opportunities and to learn and gain as much experience as possible," the Team Ineos boss added.
"Whilst we have set ourselves some clear targets and goals, the most important thing is to animate the race, embrace it and enjoy it too – as a young team we really want them to feel an excitement and anticipation of taking on this adventure and to test themselves and see where they get to."
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