Froome to lead Team Sky in Vuelta

Briton Chris Froome will lead Team Sky's Vuelta a Espana assault in August and September.

Eurosport

Froome finished second in the Tour de France having played a huge role in team-mate Bradley Wiggins's historic triumph.

The 67th edition of the race in Spain, which commences in Pamplona on Saturday 18 August, will be his chance to claim a maiden grand tour victory.

With Olympic time trial gold medallist Wiggins absent, bronze medal winner Froome will be joined by Juan Antonio Flecha, Sergio Henao, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio in a nine-man squad.

Froome finished second in last year’s Vuelta, one place ahead of Wiggins.

"It's always been my plan to ride the Vuelta," said Froome. "I’ll be going into the race as team leader but that’s not to say we don’t have other guys who can be right up there on the GC.

"Rigoberto and Sergio both have huge potential, and Richie is another guy who could shine.

"I’m going to do the best job I can and do whatever’s required of me from the team. Initially I’ll be riding for the GC, but if one of my team-mates shows that they’re in a better place to win the race then I’ll happily work for them.

"We’re sending a first-rate squad and it should be a really exciting race."

Uran, who took silver in the London 2012 road race, won the young rider’s classification on his way to seventh overall in May’s Giro d’Italia.

Flecha is riding his 17th grand tour while Ben Swift is the designated sprinter - with Mark Cavendish opting out - following his recent pair of victories on the Tour de Pologne.

"We’ve got a strong and well-balanced team going to the Vuelta," said Swift. "There are a lot of guys there to support Froomey in the mountains and I’m expecting him to have a really good race. He’s been unbelievable this season and I’m sure he’ll be able to continue that form and challenge for the top step on the podium.

"I’m really excited about being the team’s main sprinter. There should be plenty of opportunities for me and I’ll be doing my best to get my first grand tour stage win."

The team's sports director Nicolas Portal said: "With Froomey, we saw how he improved as the Tour de France went on and he will be very strong here again. This race is a major goal for him and we have the team to give him the best possible chance of success."

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