“Being selected for any team to ride the Tour is hard because it is literally the crème de la crème”


You can’t take being selected for the Tour de France for granted and just being on that start sheet of the nine guys riding for Sky is no mean feat.

Being selected for any team to ride the Tour de France is hard because it is literally the crème de la crème — everyone who is a good rider is at the Tour.

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A few people have said Sky’s team this year is a bit different, but seven of the nine riders raced last year — we’ve swapped Michal Kwiatkowski for Wout Poels and Christian Knees for Yogi [Ian Stannard].

It’s a strong team on paper but it’s only as strong as you make it and how close you grow over the weeks coming.

That’s something we’ve got an advantage over other teams as we’re a good bunch of mates off the bike and replicate that on the bike. It will hopefully be a successful three weeks.

The year that Kwiatkowski has had speaks for itself; I think he’s been Sky’s best rider. His consistency and the way he was climbing at the Dauphiné I think he was an easy pick for the team; he’s flying, and is one of the most versatile riders.

You can see how well he can climb, he can sprint, time trial, he can handle himself in the finishes, in the crosswinds he’s a powerhouse. They’re the type of guys you need.

Despite there being less hill top finishes this year we’ve got a lot of pure out-and-out mountain goats in Mikel Nieve, Sergio Henao and Mikel Landa. You could potentially lose the race on a flatter stage but if you want to win the race it’s in the mountains.

I think the Tour is going to come down to more of a racers’ race, stereotypically like the Giro d’Italia where you’ve got to be a bit more on the offensive.

There are a lot of sprint stages this year too and for GC guys we take a bit of a back seat those days, then will be on the offensive when the opportunity arises the other days.

It will be either full gas or no gas for the GC.

There’s a lot of different guys coming into the mix going really well this year too, so on paper it could potentially be the best and most exciting Tour for a long time.

I feel like a little kid looking forward to Christmas — it’s the Tour. I’m looking forward to getting there, getting in the mix, seeing the lads and getting the first few stages in the bank.