Chris Froome will lead Sky's eight-man team at the Critérium du Dauphiné, which also includes Sergio Henao and Mikel Landa

Chris Froome will lead a very strong line-up of Team Sky riders at the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race, which starts in France on Sunday, June 5.

The defending Dauphiné champion will be joined by an ‘A’ team of stage racers, including Spaniard Mikel Landa who makes his return to racing after being forced to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia in May due to illness.

Also making a return to racing is Colombian Sergio Henao, who has been out of action in mid-April after an investigation was initiated into his blood values. Henao has now been cleared and the investigation shelved.

>>> Sergio Henao to return to racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné

Providing more firepower in the mountains will be Dutchman Wout Poels, who handed Sky their first Monument victory in the spring when he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Pole Michal Kwiatkowski, Italian Salvatore Puccio and British classics specialists and super-domestiques Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard complete the line-up.

With the obvious exception of Geraint Thomas – who will be riding in the Tour de Suisse (June 11-19) – and a sprint option such as Elia Viviani, Sky’s Dauphiné line-up can’t be far short of the British WorldTour team’s Tour de France squad.

Froome has won the Dauphiné on two occasions: 2013 and 2015. The 31-year-old went on to win the Tour de France last year.

>>> Critérium du Dauphiné 2016: Latest news, reports and info

This year, Froome will face very stiff opposition in the race from a host of Grand Tour stars, including Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), Fabio Aru (Astana), Romain Bardet (Ag2r), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and former Sky team-mate Richie Porte (BMC).

The 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné kicks off on Sunday, June 5, with a prologue mountain time trial in Les Gets. It concludes in Superdévoluy on Sunday, June 12.

Last year, Froome attacked on the race’s last climb to win the final stage and take the overall race win from Tejay van Garderen (BMC).

  • A mí no me pagan por opinar

    I for one know Sergio Luis has been training hard here in Colombia to keep its shape and be ready when he’d be called, ’cause his goal is to make it for Olympics. The big question is Mikel Landa.

  • danox82

    a very strong line-up indeed. will certainly take some beating if Landa has recovered from his illness and Henao has managed to keep his fitness and form from before he was suspended by Sky