Geraint Thomas and Sergio Henao head Team Sky's line-up for the opening WorldTour race of the 2017 season: the Tour Down Under (January 17-22)
Four British riders have been named in the seven-man team for the opening 2017 WorldTour event: Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and new recruit Owain Doull, who was signed from Team Wiggins at the end of last season.
Colombian cousins Sergio and Sebastian Henao and Dutch sprinter Danny Van Poppel complete the British WorldTour squad’s TDU roster.
Thomas has a solid track record in the TDU, having placed third overall in the 2013 edition of the race after taking a stage victory, and eighth overall in 2014.
Last year, the Welshman won Paris-Nice – arguably his biggest road win to date – and successfully defended his Volta ao Algarve win from 2015.
Having switched from the Classics to focussing on stage racing last season, it is unclear at present what Thomas’s main aims are for 2017. The TDU will give him a chance to assess his form.
Sergio Henao will be a strong option for the team’s general classification aspirations in the TDU, having placed third overall last year behind winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) and second-placed Richie Porte (BMC Racing).
Henao also came away with the King of the Mountains jersey.
Rowe and Stannard will be making their first top-level racing appearance ahead of the Spring Classics, where they will spearhead Sky’s aims over the cobbles and bergs of northern Europe.
Van Poppel will be the team’s option for the race’s sprint stages. The 23-year-old Dutchman enjoyed a good start to his tenure in Team Sky last year with four victories.
The six-day Tour Down Under takes place in and around Adelaide, South Australia, over January 17-22. Traditionally, the race is settled on the ‘queen’ stage five, which finishes atop Willunga Hill. The TDU is preceded by the one-day People’s Choice Classic criterium in Adelaide on January 14.
Team Sky for 2017 Tour Down Under
Owain Doull (GBr)
Sebastian Henao (Col)
Sergio Henao (Col)
Luke Rowe (GBr)
Ian Stannard (GBr)
Geraint Thomas (GBr)
Danny Van Poppel (Ned)