Geraint Thomas will lead a strong Team Sky line-up at Paris-Nice but Mikel Landa must wait a little longer for his competitive debut with the British squad after he was left out of the selection for Tirreno-Adriatico.
Landa skipped last month’s Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and then missed the Ruta del Sol through illness. He resumed training this week but Team Sky has opted to wait a little longer before fielding him in a race. The Basque is due to lead Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia, where he finished third in the colours of Astana a year ago.
In Landa’s absence, fellow new arrival Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels and Leopold König will lead Team Sky’s assault on the general classification at Tirreno-Adriatico, which gets underway with a team time trial at Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday, March 9. Elia Viviani, fresh from competing at this week’s Track World Championships in London, will also be in the Sky team at Tirreno-Adriatico, along with Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Michal Golas and Salvatore Puccio.
Before that, Kwiatkowsi will lead the line for Team Sky in Saturday’s Strade Bianche, a race he won so impressively in 2014. The Pole makes his return to action in Tuscany after missing the recent Volta ao Algarve due to illness.
The core of Team Sky’s cobbled Classics squad, meanwhile, will accompany Geraint Thomas at Paris-Nice, with Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe, who impressed at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last weekend, lining up alongside the Welshman. Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve, Nicolas Roche and Ian Boswell will provide Thomas with robust support in this mountainous edition of Paris-Nice, which begins with a prologue time trial in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Sunday.
Team Sky have won three of the past four editions of Paris-Nice through Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Richie Porte (2013 and 2015).
Thomas led Paris-Nice for a day in 2014 and looked set for at least a podium place only to be forced out of the race following a crash on the penultimate stage. The Welshman placed fifth overall a year ago, when he impressed on the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret summit finish in the service of Porte.
Thomas showcased his early-season form by winning the Volta ao Algarve last month, and he lines out as part of a particularly strong field at Paris-Nice, with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Richie Porte (BMC) among the contenders for overall victory in Nice on March 13.
Team Sky for Strade Bianche (March 5):
Andrew Fenn, Michal Goals, Peter Kennaugh, Christian Knees, Michal Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Salvatore Puccio.
Team Sky for Paris-Nice (March 6-13):
Ian Boswell, Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve, Nicolas Roche, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas.
Team Sky for Tirreno-Adriatico (March 9-16):
Michal Golas, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Leopold Konig, Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels, Salvatore Puccio, Elia Viviani.
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