4.24.2014

Giro: Team Sky squad confirmed (riders, goals and leader)

Dario Cataldo at the start of Giro 2013
L'enfant du pays Philip Deignan at his first Grand Tour and two Italian riders: Dario Cataldo and Salvatore Puccio. Then Pete Kennaugh, Ben Swift, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Sebastian Henao and Kanstantsin Siutsou
Who's the team leader? and what's the goal? With Richie Porte out of the game, Bradley Wiggins in California and Chriss Froome aiming to the Tour, Dario Cataldo looks the most suitable for the role.There is also Edvald Boasson Hagen who is told to be unhappy and looking for a new team, so he could be offered the opportunity to ride free and play his cards. 
Team Principal Dave Brailsford isn't clear about the team goal though: “The Giro d’Italia is a fantastic race" he says "and this year provides a great opportunity for the team to go out and really express themselves on the bike. We’ve brought together an exciting squad and we can’t wait, not only for the start in Northern Ireland, but to perform in front of our Italian fans.” 
Team Sky 's press release seems to stress the stages victories' side more than the GC in listing the riders, Dario Cataldo exculded, in spite he's also a Giro's stge winner. That supports my opinion that Cataldo is going to be Sky's man for the GC.
 

Edvald Boasson Hagen – age 26 – Norway

Returning to the scene of his Grand Tour debut back in 2009, the multi-talented Norwegian excels both in the sprints and setting a tempo on the climbs. He is a former stage winner at the Giro d’Italia.

 

Dario Cataldo – age 29 – Italy

The previous Italian TT champion will line up for an impressive seventh Grand Tour start at his home race. Two 12th placed finishes at the Giro d’Italia demonstrate not only class but also consistency.

 

Philip Deignan – age 30 – Ireland

The Irishman recently returns from a broken collarbone, Deignan is a strong climber, not to mention a Grand Tour stage winner at the Vuelta a Espana.

 

Bernhard Eisel – age 33 – Austria

One of the most experienced and well-respected competitors in the peloton, the 33-year-old Austrian brings horsepower and speed, as well as knowledge gained from 14 previous Grand Tour outings.

  

Sebastian Henao – age 20 – Colombia

Making his Grand Tour debut in his first season as a professional, a string of assured climbing performances sees the Colombian rewarded with a start at the biggest race of his career.

 

Pete Kennaugh – age 24 – Great Britain

Following a strong 2013, the Manxman starts his third Giro d’Italia climbing strongly and fresh from recent victory at Settimana Coppi e Bartali. 
UDATE! Pete Kennaugh has withdrawn as a result of recent illness and will be replaced by Chris Sutton: the 29 year old is a proven performer at Grand Tour level having taking a stage victory at the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, and Ellingworth believes he will have a key role to play as Team Sky look to make their mark on the race. He said: “CJ will give us another option when it comes to the sprint finishes. He’s won Grand Tour stages in the past, and even if he’s not battling for the victories himself, he’s a good lead-out man for the likes of Ben Swift and Edvald Boasson Hagen and can play a valuable role for the team.”

 

Salvatore Puccio – age 24 – Italy

A year on from famously donning the Maglia Rosa leader’s jersey in his Grand Tour debut, the Italian returns to his home race a stronger and more well-rounded rider.

 

Kanstantsin Siutsou – age 31 – Belarus  

Another former stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, the Belarusian tasted success one day after teammate Boasson Hagen back in 2009. A top-10 finisher in the event, ‘Kosta’ is a valuable asset in any three-week stage race.

 

Ben Swift – age 26 – Great Britain

Currently riding with good form including sprint victories and a podium at Milan-San Remo, the Brit will hope to put his fast finish to good use as he hones in on a landmark Grand Tour stage win. 

It's a strong team, moreover a well balanced one, able - on paper - to get good results in the opening TTT as well as in the sprints (Ben Swift but also Boasson Hagen), to gain a place in good break-aways (you never know) and to defend its leader in the mountains as in the flat. Big names not always are a guaratee of success.

 

What Philip Deignan said
“As soon as I heard that the Giro d’Italia was starting in Northern Ireland it was a goal of mine to be there, and racing there with Team Sky is a real honour for me. We’re going with a good balance of youth and experience; we’re all looking forward to it. Growing up in County Donegal I never dreamt of riding a Grand Tour here in Ireland and this is my chance. I’m going to relish every minute of it racing in front of my friends and family.”

 

What Dario Cataldo said
“This will be my seventh appearance in the Giro d’Italia, so it is a race that has a place in my heart. The race has a great history in Italy and when I was growing up it was always a dream to ride in my home country. Without a doubt it was the race that inspired me to start riding a bike as a young boy, so for an Italian bike rider this is as good as it gets. We have a strong and exciting team going into the race and we’re all looking forward to the challenge ahead. For me, going home to race is always a pleasure and I can’t wait to get started.” 

And honestly I can't wait to see them started! 

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