Team Sky Announces Roster for Vuelta a Espana 2014
Froome, who was forced to abandon last month's Tour de France due to injuries and confusion caused by crashes, will make his return to racing in a team that includes fellow Brits Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe.
The nine-man 2014 Tour of Spain line-up is drawn from six different nations and also includes Philip Deignan, Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Christian Knees and Dario Cataldo.
Announcing Team Sky's Vuelta a España line-up, Team Principal Dave Brailsford said "This year’s Vuelta is a great opportunity for us to get back to Grand Tour racing and I’m delighted that we’ll go there with a strong team that’s very capable of performing well."
"Chris Froome will be our team leader and it’s great to have him back on the bike and focused on the challenge ahead. He was obviously very disappointed after having to withdraw from the Tour de France, but Chris has recovered and trained well since the injury. He’s now more determined than ever to get back to what he does best – riding Grand Tours."
"Chris is joined in the line-up by Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe, demonstrating once again the depth of British talent we have in the squad as they are both capable of making a big impact at the Vuelta. Philip Deignan and Mikel Nieve both race their second Grand Tours of the season and will add real quality in the mountains, with Dario Cataldo adding all-round ability to the team.
"Experience and expertise are vital components when selecting any successful team and Chris has three hugely experienced riders alongside him in Christian Knees, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Vasil Kiryienka. Together they have raced 36 Grand Tours and that adds a huge amount of value to the team.
"We’re all excited, focused and ready to get started."
Team leader Chris Froome said: "This is exactly the sort of challenge that I need after the disappointment of withdrawing from the Tour de France. You can’t dwell on disappointment, you have to move on quickly to next thing and the Vuelta has become the perfect race for me to focus on.
"I’ve always really enjoyed racing at the Vuelta, it’s a tough race but a great opportunity for the whole team. I know that the level of competition will be incredibly high this year, but we've got a strong line up so we hope to be as competitive as possible."
"I’m really pleased with how my recovery has gone since the Tour, I’ve been training hard and the support team are pleased with my progress. I'm a little bit light on racing days this year so getting a Grand Tour under my belt will not only help me now, but it will also help my preparation for next year.
"Going for the win will certainly be tough, but we’ll give it everything we’ve got."
Team Sky Pro Cycling line-up for the 2014 Vuelta a España:
Christopher Froome (United Kingdom, 29)
Chris heads into the Vuelta highly motivated after crashes and subsequent fractures to his wrist and hand brought an end to his bid to win a second Tour de France. Now fully recovered, the Brit will look to go one better than a breakthrough Vuelta in 2011 which saw him finish second. With overall victories at the Tour of Oman and Tour de Romandie already this season, he will look to chase more success in Spain.
Dario Cataldo (Italy, 29)
Lining up in Jerez de la Frontera for his fifth consecutive Vuelta start, Dario knows the Spanish roads well and will be a key rider for a testing 2014 event. The Italian famously took a stage win in 2012 on the incredible gradients of the Cuitu Negru, and with his climbing and time trial ability has repeatedly shown he is capable of targeting a strong GC finish in his own right over three weeks.
Philip Deignan (Ireland, 30)
Set for his second Grand Tour start in Team Sky colours, Philip has fond memories of the Vuelta after taking a stage victory and top-10 finish in 2009. The Irishman has shown he can climb with the best in the world and his support in the high mountains will be key to a good result for Team Sky across the three weeks.
Peter Kennaugh (United Kingdom, 25)
After being crowned British road race champion in June, Pete will look to continue his momentum as he campaigns the famous jersey at the Spanish Grand Tour. The Manxman captured his first professional victory at Settimana Coppi e Bartali this season and went on to win the race, a feat he replicated at the Tour of Austria. Part of the 2012 Tour de France-winning squad, Kennaugh’s climbing talents will be a great asset.
Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus, 33)
A stage winner for Team Sky in the Vuelta last season, the Belarusian is renowned for his hard, selfless riding and tireless stints on the front of the peloton. A key asset to the team on the climbs, Vasil will be called upon to keep breakaways in check and to help set the pace when the road ramps upwards.
Christian Knees (Germany, 33)
One of the most experienced riders in the peloton, Christian is a powerful rouleur who is most at home riding hard on the front. The tall German is an accomplished domestique and plays an important role in keeping his team leader out of the wind. Part of Team Sky’s Tour de France-winning squad in 2012, the former German champion is a great addition to any line-up.
Mikel Nieve (Spain, 30)
Mikel is making his fourth appearance at the famous race in a year which has seen the Basque rider go from strength to strength. Fresh from a stage victory at the Criterium du Dauphine, he went on to impress at the Tour de France with a consistent performance. Along with team-mates Froome, Cataldo and Deignan, Nieve is also a Vuelta stage winner.
Luke Rowe (United Kingdom, 24)
Making his second Grand Tour appearance, Luke returns to the Vuelta with another year of experience under his belt. Comfortable riding hard on the front, the Welshman has quickly become one of the most popular riders in the peloton and will play a key role in keeping team leader Chris Froome safe in the bunch. No matter the conditions Luke will be ready to race.
Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus, 32)
Kanstantsin starts his third Vuelta and first in Team Sky colours ready to continue his run of Grand Tour success. Part of both of Team Sky’s winning Tour de France squads, the Belarusian combines experience with all-round ability and will be called upon to help Chris Froome in the medium mountains.
Watch video highlights from all stages of the Vuelta a Espana 2014 here on Roadcycling.com (Videos viewable from within the United States only)