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Team Sky unveil line-up for Vuelta, which starts on Saturday

Ex-world champion Michal Kwiatkowski leads squad in Spain, Hackney's Tao Geoghegan Hart makes Grand Tour debut...

Team Sky has revealed its line-up for the Vuelta a España, which begins on Saturday with an 8-kilometre team time trial in Malaga. With Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome riding the Tour of Britain following their one-two finish at the Tour de France last month, former road world champion Michal Kwiatkowski is the biggest name in the squad, while Hackney’s Tao Geoghegan Hart makes his Grand Tour debut at the age of 23.

The UCI WorldTour outfit has triumphed in the last four Grand Tours, with Thomas’s victory in France last month following Froome’s hat-trick of victories in France, Spain and Italy, and the composition of the squad – a blend of youth and experience – suggests that targeting stage wins rather than the overall, while developing younger riders, is the priority.

That’s not to say that the line-up lacks riders capable of a top ten finish, however, with David de la Cruz seventh overall at the Vuelta two years ago and Sergio Henao – winner of the 2017 Paris-Nice -  having taken top 15 places in all three Grand Tours in the past.

Besides Geoghegan Hart – fifth overall at this year’s Tour of California – Team Sky also hands the Russian rider Pavel Sivakov his first Grand Tour start. The squad is rounded off by Jonathan Castroviejo – who, like Kwiatkowski, rode the Tour de France last month – Salvatore Puccio and  Dylan van Baarle.

“Vuelta selection is another important step in my career,” said Kwiatkowski. “I’ve never raced two Grand Tours in one season, so I am intrigued to see how my body will react to that challenge. But I don’t feel any pressure – just excitement before a new experience.

“It’s been a busy summer for me. Just six days after the Tour de France I started in the Tour of Poland and was able to stay in top shape, winning my home race. This year I’m trying to finish the season with a slightly different approach. I think that staying in a racing rhythm might just suit me.”

Geoghegan Hart said: “I am really excited to be lining up for my first Grand Tour. It is something I have been building towards since I first started with Team Sky, and in many ways for years prior to turning pro.

“I am really looking forward to doing the lap of Spain with such a strong squad, and trying to learn as much as I can along the way.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We always enjoy racing at La Vuelta and historically we’ve enjoyed great success at this race, finishing on the podium four times before winning in 2017. We’ve had a great season to date, winning both the Giro and the Tour, and we’re determined to finish the season well.

“In Michal Kwiatkowski, I believe we have a rider who is capable of one day winning a Grand Tour. He has already showed his ability in one day races and now he is progressing well in his development as a stage racer.

“He has stepped up and won week-long World Tour stage races this season and for the second year running was a key performer in our recent success at the Tour de France. This Vuelta provides another opportunity for him to further himself and gain valuable experience as a GC rider.”

He added: “In Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov, we have two young riders who I’m convinced will experience success in Grand Tours in the future. They’ve both enjoyed strong seasons and we’re especially delighted they’re making their Grand Tour debuts with the team.

“Both Tao and Pavel’s selection reflects the great attitude both riders have adopted since joining Team Sky. Their willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed; commitment to hard work; and most importantly their desire to learn, have been exemplary and I couldn’t be more proud of them.“

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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