British Grand Tour contenders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome make their 2012 season debut on Wednesday at the Tour of the Algarve, Portugal.

The duo join a strong line-up for the British-based Sky team that also includes Australian Richie Porte making his debut appearance for the squad. Edvald Boasson Hagen will contest the race’s flatter stages.

Sky will come up against 19 other teams in the five-day race that culminates in an individual time trial on Sunday, February 19. Along with the individual test against the clock, Friday’s stage three is a crucial day finishing on the Alto do Malhao climb.

Defending 2011 winner Tony Martin returns to the race with his new team, Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Martin won the final time trial last year to unseat stage three winner, Briton Steve Cummings from the overall race lead. Cummings eventually finished sixth overall – he returns this year for new team BMC Racing.

Froome and Wiggins finished the Vuelta a Espana last September in second and third place respectively behind overall winner Juan Jose Cobo. It was the strongest showing by British riders in a Grand Tour in history.

Wiggins is aiming for an overall win at the Tour de France in July, before contesting the Olympic Games time trial in London.

Tour of the Algarve 2012: Stages
Stage one, Wednesday February 15, Dunas Douradas to Albufeira, 151km
Stage two, Thursday February 16, Faro to Lagoa, 187.5km
Stage three, Friday February 17, Castro Marim to Malhao, 194.6km
Stage four, Saturday February 18, Vilamoura to Tavira, 186.3km
Stage five, Sunday February 19, Lagoa to Portimao, 25.8km ITT

Tour of the Algarve 2012: Team list
Ag2r La Mondial
An Post-Sean Kelly
BMC Racing
Caja Rural
Carmin-Prio
Efapel-Glassdrive
Garmin-Barracuda
La Antarte Rota dos Moveis
Lotto-Belisol
Movistar
Omega Pharma-QuickStep
Onda-Boavista
Rabobank
RadioShack-Nissan
Rusvelo
Saxo Bank
Sky
Topsport Vlaanderen
United Healthcare
Vacansoleil-DCM

Related links

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