Halvorsen, Lawless, and Bernal will all take to the start line in Team Sky colours for the first time

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Team Sky will take a youthful squad to the Tour Down Under with three riders racing with the team for the first time as part of the seven rider squad.

Kristoffer Halvorsen, Chris Lawless, and Egan Bernal will all race in a Team Sky jersey for the first time as they were named in team’s squad for the opening race of the WorldTour season, which starts in Adelaide on January 16, with the same seven riders also taking to the start line of the pre-race People’s Choice Classic criterium on January 14.

The team is completed by two other British riders, Jon Dibben and Owain Doull, as well as Salvatore Puccio and Lukasz Wisniowski.

Despite their youth, 21-year-old Halvorsen and 20-year-old Bernal will be given leadership opportunities in the race, with Bernal targetting the overall and Halvorsen looking to take advantage of the race’s numerous sprint stages.

>>> Tour Down Under 2018 start list

“It’s a really young and exciting team and we’re keen to see how these guys develop. We’ll be gunning to try and take a stage win,” said Team Sky sports director Brett Lancaster.

“We’ve got Kristoffer as our lead sprinter. His form is a bit unknown coming straight from Norway and stepping off the plane into temperatures of close to 40 degrees.

“Egan has already raced in a lot of big races. He’s no longer a neo-pro but he’s very young still. It’s going to be a really good chance to see where he is at, especially against the Australian riders who are in a home race and adapted already. We’ll see what happens come Willunga Hill and we’ll look to put him in a good position.

“It’s Willunga again where the race should be decided. Stage four has a good climb too but it’s similar to what we’ve seen in recent years. That Willunga day will be interesting for sure.”

With Halvorsen the team’s designated sprinter, Dibben and Doull will head into the race as lead-out men, while Puccio, the team’s oldest rider at 28, will act as the team’s road captain.

Team Sky Tour Down Under squad

Egan Bernal
Jon Dibben
Owain Doull
Kristoffer Halvorsen
Chris Lawless
Salvatore Puccio
Lukasz Wisniowski