Team Sky has announced its nine-man line-up that will contest the Giro d'Italia in May.
Sir Bradley Wiggins leads the team in his aim to add another Grand Tour title to his Tour de France victory from last season. The squad is built entirely for supporting Wiggins as he bids for the coveted pink leader's jersey, the maglia rosa.
Wiggins is joined by Dario Cataldo, Sergio Henao, Christian Knees, Danny Pate, Salvatore Puccio, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Rigoberto Uran and Xabier Zandio.
Colombian Henao is perhaps the only surprise inclusion in the line-up. He goes into the Giro after a spring classics campaign that saw him place second in Fleche Wallonne and sixth in the Amstel Gold Race. Wiggins is the sole Briton in the British-based team's line-up.
"It's well-documented that the Giro has been a season goal for Bradley," said Sky team principal Dave Brailsford. "With that in mind we want to get the best performance possible and try to win the race. If you work back from there you need support in the mountains and a strong nucleus of the team who can work hard."
"We've got quality climbing support and some really big engines too. There's also the team time trial to think about and we've got a very strong squad," said Brailsford.
Wiggins added: "I believe the Giro team this year is just as strong as the Tour de France team last year and the results prove that everyone is ready to go."
Wiggins goes into the race as one of the leading favourites to take the win. He has been working on his explosive climbing over the winter in order to cope with the Giro's relentless ascending and the inevitable attacks from his rivals. Along with the stage two team time trial, the race features a further two individual time trials. On paper, it's a route that firmly plays to Wiggins' talents.
The 2013 Giro d'Italia starts on Saturday May 4 and concludes three weeks later on Sunday May 26.
Team Sky squad for Giro d'Italia 2013
Dario Cataldo (Italy), 28 years old
Sergio Henao (Colombia), 25
Christian Knees (Germany), 32
Danny Pate (USA), 34
Salvatore Puccio (Italy), 23
Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus), 30
Rigoberto Uran (Colombia), 26
Sir Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), 32
Xabier Zandio (Spain), 36
Sky's Giro and Tour teams near finalisation
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