Strong team of domestiques to help Froome in first step of Giro/Tour double
With eight summit finishes on the route and three mountain stages of more than 200km, it is no surprise that the Sky line-up is packed with climbing talent to try and help Froome fend off attacks from the likes of Miguel Angel Lopez, Fabio Aru, Thibaut Pinot, and defending champion Tom Dumoulin.
Froome is joined by many of the same domestiques that have helped him to Tour de France glory in the past, with Wout Poels and Sergio Henao having both helped Froome in the mountains of the Tour in the past.
Christian Knees was also a vital part of Froome’s victory in the 2017 Tour de France with his work in flat stages and the early kilometres of mountain stages, while the ever-versatile Vasil Kiryienka is also in the line-up.
Alongside Poels and Henao, Kenny Elissonde will also be riding just his second Grand Tour in Team Sky colours, and could prove to be Froome’s right-hand man in the mountains after the Frenchman put in a stellar performance at the recent Tour of the Alps.
The team is completed with another strong climber, David de la Cruz, while Salvatore Puccio is the only Italian rider to make the team.
Watch: Giro d’Italia 2018 key stages
As for Froome, the 32-year-old appeared to be in good form at the Tour of the Alps (where he finished fourth) after struggling in the first part of the season, but says that there is still a risk in targetting the Giro/Tour double.
“I’ve had a different start to the season as I’ve obviously been aiming to try and reach my peak quite a bit earlier than usual. But the target of going for a third consecutive Grand Tour has given me new motivation,” Froome said.
“Of course there is an element of risk involved in targeting the Giro before the Tour, but I think I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t give this race a go.”
Froome will be racing the Giro while under investigation by the UCI for delivering an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at last year’s Vuelta a España.
If he wins the Giro d’Italia but is subsequently banned, Froome could find himself losing his pink jersey. However for now the Brit says that he is simply trying to focus on the racing.
“I also recognise the wider issues and as I have said before I am doing everything I can, together with the team, to help resolve them as quickly as possible,” Froome continued.
“In the meantime I am focussed on racing. I would love to win the maglia rosa, but I am under no illusions whatsoever about how hard the race will be.”
Team Sky line-up for the 2018 Giro d’Italia
David de la Cruz