Bradley Wiggins will head a strong line-up for Team Sky at Paris-Nice (March 4-11), whilst team-mate Mark Cavendish leads the British-based squad in Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7-13), the team announced on Tuesday.
Wiggins finished in third place overall in last year’s edition of Paris-Nice behind winner Tony Martin and runner-up Andreas Kloden. It was the first sign last season that Wiggins was on great form, later winning the Criterium du Dauphine and finishing third in the Vuelta a Espana after his Tour de France campaign was cut short due to injury.
Wiggins has already won this year – taking the final time trial stage of the Tour of the Algarve where he beat world time trial champion Martin into second place.
Vuelta 2011 runner-up Chris Froome and Tour of the Algarve winner Richie Porte add to Sky’s firepower in the prestigious French stage race. Also present is Welshman Geraint Thomas, returning to the tarmac after appearing as part of Great Britain’s team pursuit squad at the London Track World Cup.
Cavendish in Italy
Mark Cavendish continues his 2012 campaign as road race world champion at Tirreno-Adriatico, fresh form his victory on Sunday in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Cavendish will be looking for stage wins during the Italian seven-day race as he builds his form towards Milan-San Remo on March 17 – a race that the Manxman has singled out as one he wants to win again whilst in the rainbow jersey.
Tirreno also marks the return of double 2011 Tour de France stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen, after he was forced to miss Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium due to illness.
Last year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico was won by Australian Cadel Evans, who went on to win the Tour de France overall.
Sky also announced its line-up for the Three Days of West Flanders in Belgium, a short stage race that opens on March 2 with a time trial. British TT national champion Alex Dowsett will be in the hunt for an early-season win. He is joined by fellow Brits Jeremy Hunt, Peter Kennaugh, Luke Rowe and Ben Swift. Former world TT champion Michael Rogers is also in attendance.
Team Sky line-ups
Three Days of West Flanders (March 2-4)
Alex Dowsett, Sergio Henao, Jeremy Hunt, Peter Kennaugh, Salvatore Puccio, Michael Rogers, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift
Paris-Nice (March 4-11)
Chris Froome, Christian Knees, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Geraint Thomas, Rigoberto Uran, Bradley Wiggins
Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7-13)
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Juan Antonio Flecha, Mathew Hayman, Thomas Lofkvist, Ian Stannard, Chris Sutton