Froome to lead Team Sky at Vuelta

London 2012 bronze medallist

Chris Froome

will lead Team Sky at the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain), which starts on Saturday 18 August.

The three-week stage race is one of three annual Grand Tours, and follows races around Italy and France.

Froome, who was second in last year’s Tour, goes into the race on the back of finishing second in the Tour de France and

third in the Olympic time trial.

Tour de France

and Olympic time trial champion

Bradley Wiggins

will not ride.

Froome, 27, was second in last year’s Vuelta, one place ahead of Wiggins and he matched that finish in this year’s Tour de France as Britain took the top two places on the podium in Paris.

“It’s always been my plan to ride the Vuelta,” said Froome

who won stage seven of the 2012 Tour de France

and was instrumental in helping compatriot and team-mate Wiggins become the first Briton to win the race.

“I’ll be going into the race as team leader but that’s not to say we don’t have other guys who can be right up there on the GC [general classification – overall leaders].

“I’ll be riding for the GC, but if one of my team-mates shows that they’re in a better place to win the race then I’ll happily work for them.”

Fellow British riders Ben Swift and Ian Stannard are joined in the nine-man Team Sky squad by Juan Antonio Flecha, Sergio Henao, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Rigoberto Uran and Xabier Zandio.

Swift is the team’s designated sprinter and goes into the race having won two stages at the recent Tour de Pologne (Tour of Poland).

“He [Froome] has been unbelievable this season and I’m sure he’ll be able to continue that form and challenge for the top step on the podium,” said Swift.

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