No British riders selected to take part in this year's Giro d'Italia as Mikel Landa leads Team Sky at the opening Grand Tour of 2016
Landa took his first stage race victory since signing for Team Sky at the Giro del Trentino in April and heads up the British WorldTour team’s nine-man squad.
The 26-year-old Spaniard was third overall in the 2015 Giro, and will be backed by a strong selection of climbers and rouleurs to assist him during the race’s key mountain stages.
Spaniards Mikel Nieve and David Lopez; Irishmen Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan; American Ian Boswell; German Christian Knees; and Colombian Sebastian Henao will all support Landa.
Landa will face Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who goes into the race as the leading favourite for the overall victory. The start list is missing the last two overall winners: Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), both of whom are focussing on the Tour de France. Nibali won the race in 2013.
A stage winner last year, Elia Viviani will be Sky’s option for bunch sprints, although it is likely that he may only have a limited number of riders to assist him in a lead-out given the squad’s GC focus.
Viviani faces strong opposition in the sprints, with Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep), André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Demare (FDJ) all present.
Sergio Henao had originally been on Sky’s short-list for the Giro d’Italia, but is currently withdrawn from racing by the team as his biological passport figures are being investigated.
With the absence of Movistar’s Alex Dowsett due to collarbone surgery, the Giro will not feature any British riders for the second year running.