Geraint Thomas to lead Team Sky at Eneco Tour

The Welshman will lead at the Benelux stage race having returned from racing in the Canadian WorldTour races

Geraint Thomas will lead Team Sky at the 2016 season’s next WorldTour race, the Eneco Tour, while fellow Brits Luke Rowe and Andy Fenn will also appear.

Thomas made a return to racing after the Olympic Games at last week’s GP de Québec and Montréal, and will now head into the WorldTour’s final stage race as team leader.

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The seven day race, which has been shifted from its usual August slot to a September schedule because of the Olympic Games, is proving a perfect training ground for those heading to the World Championships in Qatar on October 9-16.

Sky bring sprinter Elia Viviani, who will likely led the Italian team in the road race in Doha, but also strong classics riders like Danny Van Poppel and Michal Kwiatkowski, as well as Fenn and Rowe.

With two time trials featured this year, world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka will have his last outings in the rainbow bands before the world championships on stages two and five. Former Tour de Yorkshire winner Lars Petter Nordhaug completes the eight-man team.

Any hopes of overall glory for Geraint Thomas are likely to rest on the crucial final stage, where the peloton will ride three times up the classic Tour of Flanders climb, the Muur van Geraardsbergen.

A victory here for the Welshman would add a second WorldTour stage race win to his palmarés this season, having taken a sensational victory in Paris-Nice back in March.

Full line-up: Geraint Thomas, Andy Fenn, Vasil Kiryienka, Michal Kwiatkowski, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Luke Rowe, Danny Van Poppel, Elia Viviani.

Eneco Tour 2016 stages

Stage one, Mon Sept 19, Bolsward (Ned) to Bolsward (Ned), 184km
Stage two, Tue Sept 20, Breda (Ned) to Breda (Ned), 9.6km ITT
Stage three, Wed Sept 21, Blankenberge (Bel) to Ardooie (Bel), 182.3km
Stage four, Thu Sept 22, Aalter (Bel) to St-Pieters-Leeuw (Bel), 201.4km
Stage five, Fri Sept 23, Sittard-Geleen (Ned) to Sittard-Geleen (Ned), 20.9km TTT
Stage six, Sat Sept 24, Riemst (Bel) to Lanaken (Bel), 185.2km
Stage seven, Sun Sept 25, Bornem (Bel) to Geraardsbergen (Bel), 197.8km