Sky's Giro d'Italia team will force an earlier than normal Tour de France selection. Team Principal David Brailsford should name the nine-man Giro team in the next week while already having in mind the Tour team.
Brailsford is considering possible scenarios and making sure helpers are available for both Bradley Wiggins in the Giro and Chris Froome in the Tour.
"What's going to force our hand is that we want to put a strong team in the Giro too. The Giro team will force us to choose the Tour team. It'll narrow the decision," Brailsford told Cycling Weekly last month.
"We can't hold all of the potential Tour riders back for the Tour. If we did that, we have some really good riders who might miss out and then they would've missed out on the Giro as well."
The Giro d'Italia starts on May 4 in Naples. Starting today, Sky is racing in its final Giro tune-up, the four-day Giro del Trentino. Brailsford is expected to name the Giro team soon after the final day on Friday.
Sky announced its teams about two weeks out last year, on April 27 for the Giro and on June 21 for the Tour. This year, both teams could essentially be decided after Trentino and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.
With Michael Rogers gone and the Giro/Tour goal, the selection becomes complicated. Brailsford has plenty of resources, however. The team no longer has to think about supporting Mark Cavendish and is stronger with climbers like Vasil Kiryienka and David Lopez on board.
"Do we replace Mark's spot with a pure climber or someone who can handle the medium mountains, more of a worker? It will be biased more towards climbers," Brailsford continued.
"We have a lot of talented riders who we can slot into the Mick Rogers role. Though, he is an experienced rider, a good road captain, he's hard to replace. Experience is a big thing."
Brailsford revealed that he wants Pete Kennaugh, Dario Cataldo and Rigoberto Uran with Wiggins in the Giro.
Kennaugh and Cataldo are racing in Trentino with Wiggins, Dombrowski, Christian Knees, Danny Pate, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Xabier Zandio. Uran is racing the Ardennes Classics with Froome and Richie Porte, including Fleche Wallonne tomorrow.
Most of the Trentino team will go on to help Wiggins win the Italian Grand Tour, but some, like Joe Dombrowski, will not. Based on Brailsford's and riders' comments, Cycling Weekly believes the Grand Tour teams will be roughly as follows...
Giro d'Italia: Bradley Wiggins, Pete Kennaugh, Dario Cataldo, Rigoberto Uran, Vasil Kiryienka, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Christian Knees, David Lopez, Danny Pate.
Tour de France (9 out of 10): Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins, Richie Porte, David Lopez, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Geraint Thomas, Bernhard Eisel.
"The reality is there'll be a little bit of question mark over Bradley coming out of the Giro," Brailsford added. "He could be flying, but he might not. We don't want to count on him necessarily. If he is in great shape, he and Froome will be there, if not then [it'll be] Richie and Sergio."
Bradley Wiggins recons key Giro d'Italia climbs
Giro del Trentino 2013 preview
Bradley Wiggins: Rider profile
Chris Froome: Rider profile
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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