Scott Sunderland will lead Sky’s team at the Tour of Qatar targetting the team time trial with a line-up geared towards the Classics.
The Australian directeur sportif at Sky will lead a team of riders, with the exception of Russell Downing, who are all making their debut appearance in Sky colours.
“It’s the first race of the season for everyone except Russell so we’ll try and have a good start, get an idea of where we are and do the best we can. We’re certainly taking it seriously,” Sunderland told Cycling Weekly.
Though Sunderland admits that the team will “give 100% for the team time trial, it’s more a team for the Classics,” hinting at Sky’s possible line-up come the Spring.
“The racing at Qatar is more specific to Classics racing, that’s what makes it so hard,” Sunderland added. “You’ve had to be very alert to what’s happening”.
Despite a line-up geared towards the Classics, Bradley Wiggins will also make his debut in Sky colours after enjoying a brief spell in the leader’s yellow jersey at the race last year.
“Bradley lost a few weeks’ training due to the bad weather in Britain and northern Europe, so Qatar will be good training for him.
“We’ll just take each day as it comes [in Qatar]. We’ll see how Russell and Edvald Boasson Hagen fare in the sprints but Qatar is full of surprises”.
Tour of Qatar line-up:
Bradley Wiggins, Kurt Asle Arvesen, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Russell Downing, Juan Antonio Flecha, Geraint Thomas, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Ian Stannard
Tour of Qatar preview