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"The Giro d'Italia is my first big goal of the season and I'm proud to go there as leader of Team Sky.  I feel like I'm coming into really good form and I'm confident I can perform well."

Photo: BSkyB

CHRISTIAN KNEES

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DAVID LOPEZ

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ELIA VIVIANI

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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IAN BOSWELL

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MIKEL LANDA

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MIKEL NIEVE

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NICOLAS ROCHE

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PHILIP DEIGNAN

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TEAM SKY

NEWS
03.05.2016 @ 14:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Sky has confirmed its squad for the 99th edition of the Giro d'Italia, which starts in Apeldoorn, Holland on Friday and concludes in Turin on Sunday 29 May.

 

Team Sky's bid for the pink jersey will be led by Mikel Landa, with Ian Boswell, Philip Deignan, Sebastian Henao, Christian Knees, David Lopez, Nicolas Roche, Mikel Nieve and home favourite Elia Viviani joining him in the nine-man squad.

 

Mikel Landa said: "The Giro d'Italia is my first big goal of the season and I'm proud to go there as leader of Team Sky.  I feel like I'm coming into really good form and I'm confident I can perform well.

 

"As usual the Giro will be a really tough race but we have a strong team and we're ready for it"

 

Reflecting on the season so far ahead of the Giro d'Italia, Team Principal Dave Brailsford, said:

 

"This has been our best ever start to the year."

 

"We have really demonstrated the strength in depth we have at Team Sky.  We've performed well in stage racing and I'm particularly pleased that we showed real progression in the Classics, culminating in our long awaited first Monument win at Liege-Bastogne-Liege".

 

Brailsford added that the team was going into the first Grand Tour of the year "full of confidence".

 

"Mikel Landa will lead our Giro d'Italia team. He has fitted in to the team brilliantly and is coming into top form just at the right time. He will be supported by a strong, experienced and fully committed group of riders around him.

 

"Mikel and the team are in great shape and they are ready for the challenge."

 

The Team Sky squad for the 2016 Giro d'Italia:

 

Mikel Landa - age 26 - Spain

Landa earned his reputation as one of the world's top Grand Tour riders in 2015 when he won two stages and finished third overall at the Giro d'Italia, despite working in support of Fabio Aru. The Spaniard followed that up with another stage triumph at the Vuleta a Espana, and has continued that fine form since joining Team Sky in 2016. Although illness affected much of his early-season programme, Landa got back to winning ways with a stage victory at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and then took another stage success on his way to the overall victory in last week's Giro del Trentino.  

 

Ian Boswell - age 25 - USA

Boswell has progressed tremendously since turning professional with Team Sky in 2013. Top-10 performances at the Trofeo Andratx, Tour de Langkawi and Tour of California earned him his first Grand Tour ride at the Vuelta a Espana last season, and he completed that race in style after sealing a top-three finish on stage 11. It is in the mountains where Boswell feels most at home, and his selfless attitude and unwavering work ethic have helped achieve victories in four of the five races he has entered for Team Sky this season.

 

Philip Deignan - age 32 - Ireland

Now in his 12th year as a pro, Deignan has amassed an enviable stage race record and will be making his ninth Grand Tour appearance at the Giro d'Italia. His career highlight came on the 18th stage of the 2009 Vuelta a Espana when he battled to a hard-fought win, and that result helped him claim a top-10 overall finish in the process. Since then the climbing specialist has achieved further victories at the Tours of the Gila, California, Utah, and the USA Pro Challenge, and his experience will be a key attribute over the three weeks of action.

 

Sebastian Henao - age 22 - Colombia

Henao turned professional with Team Sky in 2014 and marked himself out as a top climbing talent that season with two top-10 stage finishes in his first-ever Giro d'Italia. A string of impressive performances have followed since then, and Henao will provide invaluable support to Landa when the road ramps upwards.

 

Christian Knees - age 35 - Germany

Knees is rightfully regarded as one of the best domestiques in the sport and the Giro will mark his 15th Grand Tour appearance. The former German champion will work primarily for Landa during the flatter sections of the race, keeping him well positioned and out of harm's way, whilst also ensuring Elia Viviani is in the right place to contest the sprints. 

 

David Lopez - age 34 - Spain

Another hugely-experienced campaigner, Lopez is in his 12th season as a professional and will assume the role of a key climbing domestique. The Spaniard is a Vuelta a Espana stage winner and has played his part in two previous Grand Tour victories, the most recent of which was Chris Froome's maiden Tour de France triumph in 2013.

 

Mikel Nieve - age 31 - Spain

Now into his third season with the team, Nieve is no stranger to competing at the sharp end of three-week stage races. With top-10 overall finishes at the Giro and the Vuelta a Espana already achieved, not to mention a stage victory in each, he is one of the best pure climbers around. Nieve will turn 32 during the race's final week, where he will be hoping to play a pivotal role in the mountains for his fellow Basque native Mikel Landa.

 

Nicolas Roche - age 31 - Ireland

No-one will have ridden more Grand Tours on this roster than Roche when he makes his 16th such appearance in Apeldoorn. A top-five finish at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana proves his all-round credentials, and when he's not helping Landa in the mountains, he might also get the chance to go for a stage win himself and add to an already impressive palmares.

 

Elia Viviani - age 27 - Italy

Viviani lives for the Giro and achieved a life-long ambition last season when he romped to his first stage win in Genoa. That success earned him the red sprinter's jersey, and he would hold it for 11 days before the race was out. Viviani will be aiming for more sprint successes this time around and renew his bid to win the maglia rossa outright.

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