Cycling: British trio spearhead Team Sky

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas were today named in Team Sky's squad for the Tour de France alongside fellow Briton Ben Swift.

Wiggins, fourth in 2009 and 24th in 2010, will start the Tour in the Vendee region of western France on July 2 on the back of the biggest win of his road career at this month's Dauphine Libere.



Thomas excelled in the 2010 Tour and was always likely to be selected, with Swift's inclusion for his debut coming after five wins this season.



The 23-year-old Rotherham rider is named in the nine-man squad alongside Edvald Boasson Hagen, Juan Antonio Flecha and Simon Gerrans, all of whom rode in Team Sky's debut Tour last July.



Colombia's Rigoberto Uran, who helped Wiggins in the mountains at the Dauphine, Xabier Zandio and German national champion Christian Knees - all winter recruits - have also been included.







After changing the focus from "one rider and one race" - namely Wiggins and the Tour - Team Sky appear to have reaped the benefits this season, with Thomas also among the winners after victory in Bayern Rundfhart.



Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford is pleased with the composition of his squad.



He said: "We have a really exciting team that can't wait for July 2.



"This is a strong and balanced team with a real depth of talent to cater for all the challenges, from the team time-trial to its high mountain finishes.



"The squad have raced and trained together consistently well and are full of confidence after excellent results at Bayern Rundfhart and the Criterium du Dauphine.



"There is a great blend of experience and youth in our squad. As well as riders like Bradley, Flecha, Simon, Christian and Xabier who have ridden the Grand Tours on numerous occasions, the line-up also includes some of the peloton's brightest young talents in Edvald, Geraint, Rigoberto and Ben."



Wiggins changed his approach this season after missing out on his aim of being the first Briton on the Tour podium in Paris last July.



And he is looking forward to the Tour start as he bids to challenge overall once more.



He said: "The team is in great shape, full of confidence and riding well.



"It's going to be a great three weeks of racing."



Swift is excited to have been included.



"Competing in the Tour de France is what every young rider dreams of and I'm really excited about the challenge ahead," he said.



"The team is riding well and we can't wait to get going against the world's best riders."



Brailsford added: "I am delighted that Ben Swift will be making his Tour debut.



"He is enjoying a breakthrough season with five wins already and he will absolutely thrive on this opportunity to test himself on the biggest stage of all."





Meanwhile, Team Sky's colours will be green at this year's Tour as part of a save the rainforest campaign.



Team Sky's kit, bikes, equipment and vehicles will change from blue to green for all 21 stages of the race to help raise awareness and support for Sky Rainforest Rescue, a three-year partnership between Sky and WWF to help save a billion trees in the state of Acre, northwest Brazil.

Comments