A guide to the Tour de France
21st June 2016
Ian Stannard at the Olympic Velodrome, London
Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard are both expected to make Sky's Tour de France 2016 team. They helped Chris Froome win the Critérium du Dapuhiné 2016, and will be asked to aid his pursuit of another Tour de France victory.
Both riders will have the role of protecting Froome on the flat - keeping him out of trouble and out of the wind.
According to CyclingNews, Stannard said, 'We're going there again to try and win the Tour with Chris. My role there will be to look after him on the flat stages and if that means us taking control on some stages, we'll do that.'
'I've been training hard and it's around two weeks to the start. My personal role hasn't changed. I'll look after Froome as long as I can with Luke on the flat and then once the gruppetto is formed I'll try and stay well hidden. I don't know the line-up, or make the decisions, but I just make sure that I'm going in the right direction.'
Rowe said, 'It's a nice position to be in. Last year, I was really fighting to get into the squad, but bar illness or injury, it looks like a done deal.'
'It's a harder race, with hills and mountain stages almost straight from the start. It's going to be a tough race. The final make-up and build of the team, I'm not sure, and we'll have to wait and see, but it's certainly going to be a more climbing-orientated team.'
The majority of Sky's Tour de France riders will come from the Critérium du Dauphiné team. As well as Froome, Rowe, and Stannard, Mikel Landa, Wout Poels, Sergio Henao, and Michal Kwiatkowski will be on the start line in Mont Saint-Michel. Geraint Thomas is also certain to be included. He rode to 17th place in the Tour de Suisse last week.
That leaves just one place on the Tour de France team available. Amongst the contenders for selection are Salvatore Puccio, Mikel Nieve, Leopold Konig, and Vasil Kiryienka.
The 2016 Tour de France begins at Mont St Michel, in the Manche département of France. It tackles the Pyrenees before the Alps, and as always there's a final processional stage to Paris.
17th June 2016
Chris Froome's Col de Joux Plane recon was disrupted on Wednesday when part of the road was missing, and he and his teammates had to get off and carry their bikes. The Col de Joux Plane is the last climb on the last stage in the Alps, and could be crucial. Read about Froome's Col de Joux Plane recon...
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