Thursday, 23 June 2011

#TDF The Teams 1 - Team Sky

It is that point that the team are finalising naming their nine man teams to take on the 98th edition of the Tour de France.

So I'll start my look at the teams with the one with most British interest Team Sky

Team Sky's Tour de France squad
111 Bradley Wiggins (UK) 31 The Olympic gold medalist of course turned his attention to the road after Beijing. With his winter training in 2008/9 led to him coming fourth in the 2009 Tour equalling the best performance by a British cyclist in the Tour. Last year with Team Sky it was rather disappointing in the Tour for Brad. However, this year the team leader has shown some form. He came 3rd in the Paris-Nice Classic, he had a stage win in Bayern-Rundfahrt and comes into the Tour in the back of his win in the Criterium du Dauphiné.This year he hasn't raced the Giro d'Italia in the led up like he tried last year so may be ready to compete in the General Classification (GC) once more. 5th Tour Start Best 4th 2009

114 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) 24 The Young Norwegian completed his first Tour last year and was up there in the group sprints twice making the podium. He also won a stage at Bayern-Rundfahrt after which he pulled on the leader's jersey and had two podium finishes in the Criterium du Dauphiné. An injury hit early season may mean he is fresher into the fight for the Tour. May be looking to sneak a stage win when the other top sprinters aren't paying attention. 2nd TS 116th,  6th in points

112 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) 33 The Argentine-born Spaniard is seen as a Classics specialist having won Züri-Metzgete (2004), Circuit Franco-Belge (2008) and 3 podium finishes in Paris–Roubaix. With some of the 'flat' stage not being so flat at the finish he may well be the sort of man to look out for. However, he will be an invaluable lieutenent to Wiggins in these stafe. He won stage 11 in 2003 (Narbonne-Toulouse) when he mimed firing an arrow in celebration to mark his family name. Last year on Stage 13 Rodez-Revel he was deemed the most combative rider a stage over 5 small climbs. 9th TS Best 73rd 2005

113 Simon Gerrans (Aus) 31 The Aussie had a 2010 Tour in which he was involved in a number of crashes including one on stage 8 where he broke his arm. However, he is one of a small band of cyclists who has won stages on all three of the Grand Tours, Stage 15 2009 Tour de France, Stage 14 2010 Giro d'Italia and Stage 10 2010 Vuelta a España. He also came third in the Amstel Gold earlier this season on a tricky uphill finish like some of those in the first week. His Tour stage win came when he broke away from the rest of the break away on the lead into the finish. 6th TS Best 79th 2008

115 Christian Knees (Ger) 31 Is currently the German nation champion he joined from Milram at the start of the year. A previous winner of Bayern-Rundfahrt in 2009, he helped Geraint Thomas to the title this year. He knows how to survive in the mountains but will give a great deal of firepower to the sprinter's lead out train. 6th TS Best 21st 2009

116 Ben Swift (UK) 23 While if may be Swift's first Tour de France he has already competed in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España. Indeed he came third on stage 2 of the 2009 Giro. He has also won King of the Mountains competitions on the Tour of Britain and Giro delle Region. So he may be a sprinter to challenge on some of those uphill finishes in the first week. Expect him though to be part of Boasson Hagen's lead up on tradition group finishes though. Debut Tour

117 Geraint Thomas (UK) 25 The Welshman wore the GB national colours in last year's tour. Last month saw his first profession win in the 5 day Bayern-Rundfahrt race. His strong stage finishes in last year's Critérium de Dauphiné saw him wear the Green Jersey on occaions, a competition he ended up 5th in. He completed last year's Tour in 67th place as the 9th best young rider. 3rd TS Best 67th 2010

118 Rigoberto Urán (Col) 24 The young Columbian is like most of his countrymen who have riden the tour a climber. Top five finishes in the Volta a Catalunya and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He came 52nd in the 2009 Tour riding for Caisse d'Epargne. 2nd TS Best 52nd 2009

119 Xabier Zandio (Spa) 34 Another mountain specialist who has joined Sky this year from the famous Banesto team. Along with Urán will be helping Wiggins through the high mountains amrking the attacks and bring their leader to where he has to be at the foot of the final climb. Starting his eleventh Grand Tour and 5th successive Tour de France. 5th TS best 22nd 2005

Overall Sky are also one of the teams to watch in the Team Time Trail on Stage 2 as this video of them training for last year's Giro d'Italia shows.

Update Team Sky will start with two riders in national colours, Bradley Wiggins in the GB hoops and if he overcomes shingles Edvald Boasson Hagen in the time trial.

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