Strong team of domestiques to support Chris Froome

Team Sky have announced the seven riders who will ride the 2018 Tour de France in support of Chris Froome as the 33-year-old goes in search of a historic fifth Tour title.

Froome will be joined by a strong band of climbers, four of whom have been alongside him for previous Tour triumphs, including Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe.

Announced just four days ahead of the race, and the day after the anti-doping investigation against Froome was dropped, Sky’s line-up consists of the usual strong mix of climbers and rouleurs to make sure that the four-time winner has men alongside him in the mountains and is kept out of trouble on the flat.

Geraint Thomas is likely to be Froome’s right-hand man in the mountains, and looks in scintillating form after winning the Critérium du Dauphiné and becoming the British national time trial champion, with the Welshman being good enough to take up the leadership role should Froome falter.

Wout Poels is sure to also be close to Froome in the mountains, having helped guide him to multiple Grand Tours in the past, while it will also be intriguing to see how Egan Bernal copes in his first Grand Tour, having enjoyed a dream first season in the WorldTour that has seen him win the Tour of California and narrowly miss out at the Tour de Romandie and Volta a Catalunya.

Michal Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, and Jonathan Castroviejo are all versatile riders that will be able to be at Froome’s side whatever the terrain, while Luke Rowe is likely to be the team’s road captain, with his selection being the culmination of an incredible recovery from a badly broken leg which he suffered less than 12 months ago.

>>> Tour de France 2018 start list

Froome will be searching for a fifth Tour de France title, equalling the record held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain, and will also be trying to become the first man to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same year since Marco Pantani in 1998.

The challenge of riding the Tour after the Giro is something of an unknown for Froome, but the Brit says that he has learned from the experience of riding – and winning – the Vuelta a España after the Tour in 2017.

“The last twelve months have been the hardest but also the most incredible of my career,” Froome said. “I’ve never started the Tour de France after riding the Giro d’Italia and it has meant a completely different approach to my season. But I learned a lot from riding the Vuelta straight after the Tour de France last year which has given me confidence coming into this race.

“I want to make history with a fifth Tour de France win and fourth consecutive Grand Tour. I am under no illusion about the challenge, but I am feeling ready and I couldn’t ask for a better team to support me.

“This is the biggest race in the year, in front of the most passionate cycling fans, and I can’t wait to get racing.”

Team Sky Tour de France line-up

Chris Froome
Egan Bernal
Jonathan Castroviejo
Michal Kwiatkowski
Gianni Moscon
Wout Poels
Luke Rowe
Geraint Thomas