Wout Poels and Michal Kwiatkowski head Team Sky squad at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana

Poels aiming to repeat success from 2016

Wout Poels took victory on stage two of the Ruta del Sol
(Image credit: Team Sky)

Team Sky have named a strong team for the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, with Michal Kwiatkowski, Ian Stannard, and Wout Poels all in the team.

The race, which starts on Wednesday (January 31) and is the first stage European stage race of the year, consists of five stages on Spain's east coast, including a team time trial on stage three and a summit finish on stage four.

Wout Poels won the race when it returned to the calendar in 2016 after a seven year absence, and will once again lead Team Sky's challenge in 2018.

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The Dutchman will benefit from a strong team of domestiques, with David de la Cruz, Vasil Kiryienka, Michal Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, Diego Rosa and Ian Stannard completing the line-up.

"I’m really looking forward to this season," Poels said ahead of the race. "I finished 2017 off strongly at the Vuelta a España and now it’s time to get back in the game and try to get some nice results.

"Naturally sixth place at the Vuelta gave me a lot of confidence. I hope I get more opportunities to do more things like that in the Grand Tours. For now, I’m just excited to get back to racing, starting this week."

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The Spanish stage race once again boasts a strong field in 2018 with a number of GC contenders choosing it as one of their first races of the season.

Alejandro Valverde will lead Movistar in the absence of defending champion Nairo Quintana, while both of the Yates twins looks set to be in the Mitchelton-Scott line-up.

There are also a few Classics starts searching for early season form on the start line including Greg Van Avermaet who will ride for BMC Racing as the American team targets the team time trial.

The opening stage on Wednesday covers 191.4km from Oropesa El Mar to Peñiscola is generally flat, with a bunch sprint expected.

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