Sir Dave Brailsford appeared on Sky Sports News to confirm the eight riders who will join Chris Froome at the 2016 Tour de France

Chris Froome will be backed by a strong squad in the Tour de France as he aims to defend the title he won in 2015.

The eight riders who have been selected by Team Sky have all earned their place in the squad through strong results this season and at last year’s Tour.

The British team is setting out to gain its fourth overall win in five years.

Plan G

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome on stage four of the 2015 Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome on stage four of the 2015 Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson

Chief among his domestiques will be Geraint Thomas, who shone at the 2015 Tour but was off the pace at the recent Tour de Suisse. The team have already stated that Thomas will be protected in a way that he wasn’t last year.

tour-onsalenow-1000x150

Wout Poels has been named in the team, which is of little surprise after he too was instrumental in Froome’s 2015 victory and also after the Dutchman won Team Sky‘s first Monument at Liège-Bastogne-Liège earlier this season.

British workhorses

Rowe and Ian Stannard were on the nose of the peloton a lot in 2015. Photo: Graham Watson

Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard were on the nose of the peloton a lot in 2015. Photo: Graham Watson

Adding to the British contingent is the ever reliable diesel engine pairing of Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe.

Both riders had a solid Classics season – Stannard’s podium at Paris-Roubaix being the highlight – and both are always willing to work for their team leader, often before the television coverage starts.

Altitude assistance

Mikel Nieve collecting mountains points on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Mikel Nieve collecting mountains points on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Further assistance for Froome in the mountains will come from Basque riders Mikel Nieve and Mikel Landa, both of whom had already been photographed training with Froome following the Criterium du Dauphiné.

Landa looks set to take up the role of domestique after his outing as team leader in the Giro d’Italia ended with a DNF due to illness.

Sergio Henao will further bolster the climbing ability of the team as it looks to see off the challenge from Nairo Quintana and his Movistar team.

Rainbow stripes

Vasil Kiryienka sets the pace on stage seven of the 2016 Tour de Suisse. Photo: Graham Watson

Vasil Kiryienka sets the pace on stage seven of the 2016 Tour de Suisse. Photo: Graham Watson

TT world champ Vasil Kiryienka will take his place alongside the others at the Grand Départ on Saturday July 2.

Kiryienka will have the chance to show the rainbow stripes on the two time trial stages and can be relied on to set the pace on flat and mountainous parcours alike.

His strong showing on the Tour de Suisse, where he was strong throughout in his support of Thomas, earned him his place in the team.

It had been expected that Michal Kwiatkowski would feature, but his training has been hindered by laryngitis which ultimately ruled him out of this year’s Grand Boucle.

Team Sky squad: 2016 Tour de France

Chris Froome (Gbr)
Geraint Thomas (GBr)
Ian Stannard (GBr)
Luke Rowe (GBr)
Wout Poels (Ned)
Vasil Kiryienka (Blr)
Mikel Landa (Esp)
Mikel Nieve (Esp)
Sergio Henao (Col)