With Giro d’Italia winner Chris Froome and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas both missing after their respective successes this season, the British squad’s rider selection was always set to be more intriguing with no obvious leader.
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David de la Cruz already outlined his ambition to perform well in the GC at his home race, and has been confirmed in Sky’s squad and is likely to be their joint overall focus. Michal Kwiatkowski, who helped Thomas to his Tour victory, is also in the team with an eye on GC and takes on two Grand Tours in the same year for the first time.
Team boss Dave Brailsford said he believes in Kwiatkowski “we have a rider who is capable of one day winning a Grand Tour,” however the Pole says he remains “intrigued” about how his body will react to two Grand Tours.
The 28-year-old resumed racing just six days after finishing the Tour, going on to win the overall at the Tour of Poland.
De la Cruz and Kwiatkowski will be backed up by a team of Grand Tour debutants and experienced riders, with Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart confirmed to make his three-week race debut.
“I am really excited to be lining up for my first Grand Tour,” the 23-year-old said. “It is something I have been building towards since I first started with Team Sky, and in many ways for years prior to turning pro.
“I am really looking forward to doing the lap of Spain with such a strong squad, and trying to learn as much as I can along the way.”
Russian Pavel Sivakov will also make his Grand Tour debut at 21-years-old, while Dutchman Dylan van Baarle will ride his first Grand Tour since joining Team Sky.
They’ll be joined by Sergio Henao and Salvatore Puccio, who both helped Froome to win the Giro, along with Spanish national time trial champion Jonathan Castroviejo, who backs up the Tour with a ride at his home race.
“We always enjoy racing at La Vuelta and historically we’ve enjoyed great success at this race,” Brailsford said on the announcement, “finishing on the podium four times before winning in 2017.”
“We’ve had a great season to date, winning both the Giro and the Tour, and we’re determined to finish the season well.
“Our lineup has a real mix of youth and experience. There are several riders in this team who are looking to make big strides forward in their respective careers – Kwiatkowski, de la Cruz, Geoghegan Hart, Sivakov and van Baarle – who will be supported by an incredible trio of experienced riders in Castroviejo, Henao and Puccio.”
The Vuelta a España starts on Saturday August 25 with a time trial in Malaga and ends on Sunday September 16 in Madrid.
Team Sky Vuelta a España 2018 squad
David de la Cruz
Tao Geoghegan Hart
Dylan van Baarle