Czech rider earmarked for roles at Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in tough summer schedule

TAGS:

New recruit Leopold König admits he’s still adapting to the size and sophistication of the Team Sky operation after four years with Professional Continental outfit Netapp-Endura.

The 27-year-old began his Sky chapter with a fifth place and third place in the Challenge Mallorca earlier in February and, last week, raced the Tour of Oman.

“I’m still finding out the differences between the two teams,” König said. “The biggest one is the number of people around me. I still have to adapt to it. I don’t know half of them!

“You have more resources here, people taking care of everything, every area of performance. Then, it’s how the riders cope with it and how they use the resources.”

The team plans to field König in both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2015, helping Richie Porte in the former and Chris Froome in the latter.

“The plan for Leo is to go for the Giro with Richie Porte,” Sky DS Nicolas Portal told Cycling Weekly. “I presume that he will be the backup, and that’s already an important role.

“After that, he knows that he has to completely dedicate himself to Froomey. We will see how he digests that, but we aren’t going to send him to the Vuelta a España!”

In his time at Netapp-Endura, König won a stage and finished ninth overall in the 2013 Vuelta a España, and won a stage in both the Tour of Britain and the Tour of California. He took the wildcard entrants to seventh place in the 2014 Tour de France and, soon afterwards, Sky snapped him up alongside Nicolas Roche and Wout Poels to reinforce its stage race squad.

Leopold Konig wins stage eight of the 2013 Tour of Spain Credit: Graham Watson

Leopold König wins stage eight of the 2013 Vuelta Credit: Graham Watson

König has never raced the Giro, but Sky have him earmarked as a possible captain if Australian Richie Porte falls through.

“It’s another step in my career to do the two Grand Tours,” the Czech rider said. “My body needs to be under pressure and under big loads of racing and training. It can suit me to do one race as a leader or co-leader, and to do one race as a helper.

“It’s simple. I had ninth and seventh in my first two Grand Tours, so the next step is top five or the podium.

“The best would be to do what we are thinking about, first and second in the Giro! I’m just having fun, but you should set higher goals than maybe you can achieve, because then there’s more probability that it’s going to happen when you set a goal of being top 20.”

In addition to König, Froome could rely on Porte, Poels, Roche, Geraint Thomas and Mikel Nieve for 2015’s Tour de France.