Team Sky has announced the squad that it is taking to the opening WorldTour race of the 2016 season, the Tour Down Under in Australia over January 19-24.
Five of the seven riders in Sky’s TdU team are British, with Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, British national champion Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift joining Colombian Sergio Henao and Italian Salvatore Puccio.
Both Thomas and Swift have previously taken stage wins in the race, with Thomas appearing on the final podium in 2013 when he finished third. Henao makes his debut in the event, and could possibly be a rider to watch on the race’s key climbing stage to Willunga Hill.
A number of Sky’s key classics riders will be looking to sharpen their form during the event before heading back to Europe for the start of the spring campaign.
Last year, Thomas rode in support of Sky leader Richie Porte at the TdU, but the latter has switched squads to BMC for 2016 and will ride alongside defending champion Rohan Dennis.
The British team is keeping its options open with regard to leadership in the six-day Australian race.
“We have lots of quality riders in this line-up,” said Team Sky sports director Kurt Asle Arvesen.
“This gives us great options and we’re confident of putting in another strong team performance at this race. We can’t wait to get the season started and we’re looking forward to seeing our Australian fans on the roadside.”
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The Tour Down Under is preceded by a short, one-day race, the People’s Choice Classic, on January 17.
Team Sky’s squad for the 2016 Tour Down Under
Sergio Henao (Col)
Pete Kennaugh (GBr)
Salvatore Puccio (Ita)
Luke Rowe (GBr)
Ian Stannard (GBr)
Ben Swift (GBr)
Geraint Thomas (GBr)