Team Sky unveil Tour de France squad as Froome sets sight on defending title

Team Sky have announced their nine-man squad for the upcoming Tour de France

Team Sky unveil Tour de France squad as Froome sets sight on defending title
Team Sky's Tour de France squad (image via: TeamSky.com)

Chris Froome headlines Team Sky's squad for the upcoming Tour de France which was unveiled today by Sir Dave Brailsford.

The squad which also includes other Brits such as Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas will look to defend the Yellow Jersey they won last year through Froome. 

The Tour which starts on the 2nd July in Mont Saint-Michel sees Froome head to the event as one of the favourites once more. As well as the other three British riders, Sky have included Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiriyenka, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels in the nine-man squad, yet there is no place for Michal Kwiatkowski.

Froome aiming for Tour hat-trick

Having claimed overall victory in 2013 and 2015, Chris Froome now has eye on a third Tour de France win, where he would become just the eighth man to achieve such a feat. 

His battle in the mountains with Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali will most likely decide the winner when the race reaches a finale in Paris on July 24th. 

The squad backing-up Froome is full of experience, with 26 year-old's Landa and Rowe the youngest members. Kiriyenka of Belarus takes the place of Kwiatkowski who has not recovered from illness in time to make the start line next month. 

Tour will 'always be the pinnacle' claims Froome

Speaking to Team Sky's official website, Chris Froome admitted that he is 'in good shape' and knows that the Tour will 'always be the pinnacle of our sport.'

Froome knows as well as anyone in the peloton the importance of teammates over a three-week race who will help carry him through the 21 stages, admitting he is 'fortunate to have a strong team around me'. 

The Kenyan-born Olympian continued on to say that he is 'hungrier than ever for success' at this year's event which includes two individual time-trials towards the back-end of the race. 

Brailsford and Froome celebrate Tour de France success (image via: skysports)

Team Principal, Dave Brailsford said that 'we have selected a talented group of riders' as expected, admitting that the main aim will once more to bring Froome the yellow jersey.

Brailsford is expecting as strong a challenge as ever before, with a number of potential winners amongst the starters. One bonus will be that Brailsford and Sky know what it takes to win the overall competition, and the team are 'as excited as the fans' to get going next Saturday according to the man who has changed British cycling for ever.