Team Sky have announced their nine-man squad for next month’s Giro d’Italia, their first Grand Tour.
Bradley Wiggins and Dario Cioni are joined by Michael Barry, Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, Mathew Hayman, Greg Henderson, Morris Possoni and Chris Sutton. The 21-stage event starts with a time trial in Amsterdam on 8 May and finishes with another race against the clock in Verona on 30 May. It covers 3,418 kilometres in total and takes in fabled mountains Monte Zoncolan, Plan de Corones – which is used for the stage 16 time trial – and the Gavia Pass. Team Principal Dave Brailsford said: “We’re all incredibly excited about racing in the Giro d’Italia. It is Team Sky’s debut in a Grand Tour event and another special moment for us.” Marco Pistoni, Sky Sport Commercial Director of Sky Italia, said: “We really believe in Team Sky, the partner of Sky Italia. It is the new reality of the cycling world, they have a strong philosophy, good values and we are convinced that they have a very important future. “Regarding the Giro d’Italia and its glorious 101st edition, we have also acquired the news rights to use for SkyTg24 and SkySport24 which we are very excited about.”
Wiggins will be looking to make his mark on the general classification early on, with an 8.4km time trial getting the race under way followed by two flat stages in Holland and then a team time trial on stage four. And while all eyes will be on Wiggins at the Tour de France as he looks to better his fourth place in 2009, Brailsford was quick to stress that he will also give the Giro the full respect it deserves.
He added: “You can’t go to a race like the Giro and not take it seriously. You go to the Giro to race the Giro and that’s what Bradley will do.” The riders themselves can’t wait to represent Team Sky in their first Grand Tour. Barry and Hayman head to the race fresh from excellent performances in the Spring Classics and both are relishing the test ahead. Barry told us: “The Grand Tours are on a different level – all the riders are excited about it and I hope all the fans are too. “The team looks really good. I know Bradley’s fitness is great right now and he’s motivated to do some nice rides, especially in the first part of the race. “We have some quick sprinters and also riders who can climb really well so I’m sure the victories will come.” That view was echoed by Hayman, who added: “We’ve got fast guys and GC guys and people who can support them. It’s nice going into a race with different goals every day, whether the focus is on Greg, Wiggo or whoever. “The Giro normally has something spectacular thrown in and I’m sure this edition will be no exception. They always try and make it pretty special each year.”
Meanwhile Froome is expected to be fit to take his place following his crash in Tuesday’s prologue of the Tour of Romandie. The 24-year-old didn’t suffer any serious damage but was cut and bruised after crashing to the ground on a tricky final corner in Porrentruy, Switzerland. He took the decision to head back to his base in Tuscany to make sure he’s 100% for the Giro, and told us on Thursday: “I’m definitely hopeful that I’ll recover in time for the start. “To be ready for the Giro has been the big goal for me and I’m obviously going to be putting everything into that.”