We cast an eye over the possible contenders who could help Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas at the upcoming Tour de France
Making the selection more difficult, Team Sky’s top brass can only select eight riders as per the new rules on team sizes in 2018.
Froome, four-time Tour winner and recent victor in the Giro d’Italia, will be on the list. Thomas earned his way too with past performances and his recent win in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
We have a look at the other riders who could fill the six remaining slots Sky has on offer for the race, which begins on July 7 in Vendée.
The Polish cyclist almost certainly will be among the eight when Sky names them. Froome would thank the former world champion twice a day in 2017 for his work in the mountains such was its effect. It was a rebound after he struggled in his 2016 debut season with the team.
Sharp eyes will notice that it is always Kwiatkowski and Wout Poels on training rides when Froome posts on social media.
Kwiatkowski raced through the Ardennes – winning Tirreno-Adriatico earlier in March – and backed off and began is preparation to be ready for Tour selection.
Poels like Froome built his season around the Giro/Tour double. He planned on leading the Giro team in the case that Froome could not race due to a salbutamol suspension. Instead, he ended up pulling Froome to victory and placing 12th overall in Rome.
As with Froome, he backed off after the Giro and has been training steadily to be ready for the July 7 start. It will be a comeback of sorts after missing selection in 2017, struggling with a knee injury.
In the two prior years, however, Froome relied heavily on him to win.
The Colombian champion also supported Froome to his Giro d’Italia win and placed 13th, one place behind Poels. It is unclear if he would ride the Giro/Tour double or support the team’s push in the Vuelta a España later this summer.
Haneo already helped Froome to victory in the Tour the last two editions. His build up and form this season suggests Sky is planning on taking him along for its double quest with Froome and Poels.
Moscon earned his way into Froome’s Grand Tour guard last year in the Vuelta a España. The Italian protected Froome on the most demanding mountain stages – first the short punchy climbs and then the long grinders.
This year, the 24-year-old built his season around the cobbled Classics and the Tour. The Classics didn’t go how he wanted but he showed ready when helping in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The fast rising 21-year-old Colombian star might make the cut. In his debut with Sky this year, he won the Oro y Paz and Tour of California stage races, and placed second in the Tour de Romandie. His agent and Colombian media say that he will race the Tour.
“I understand the criticism, people say I’m too young and they don’t want to see me to burn myself up,” Bernal said this month.
“Team Sky will certainly not say that I have to win the Tour. That is just the beauty of the team, they hardly put pressure on me. In the Tour, that would be the same.”
Dylan Van Baarle
The Dutchman, new to Sky for 2018, should use his Classics-riding tactical abilities to be one of Froome’s muscle men through the first nine days of the Tour de France, especially the ninth one over the Paris-Roubaix cobbles.
He raced the last three Tours with former team Cannondale-Drapac. Sky took him to the Dauphiné, seemingly putting him in place for the Tour.
Like Van Baarle, the Welshman will shepherd Froome and Thomas through the first week. It will complete a comeback for Rowe, who after a successful 2017 Tour broke his leg while rafting.
He already completed the first step by racing through the Classics. Now, he has been building towards the Tour with the Critérium du Dauphiné. Sky must make the decision now as to weather his leg can handle the three-week grind.
Sky signed the Spaniard from rival Movistar team, where in 2017 and 2015 he helped Nairo Quintana in the Tour de France.
Behind Tao Geoghegan Hart, he was Sky’s most outstanding helper in Thomas’ Critérium du Dauphiné win and could form part of the mountain team for the Tour.
Tao Geoghegan Hart
The young Englishman, 23, performed exceptionally well in the Dauphiné for Thomas, but wants to race the Vuelta instead later this summer as his debut Grand Tour. However, he says that he eventually wants to become one of the Sky’s mountain men in the coming Tours.