Team Sky Announce Vuelta a España Line-Up
Team Sky has selected its line-up for the 68th edition of the Vuelta a Espana, which starts in Galicia this Saturday 24 August.
The team is drawn from seven different nations with Sergio Henao set to lead the charge after an impressive season which has yielded 17 top-10 finishes to date.
The 25-year-old Colombian will be joined in a strong nine-man line up by Edvald Boasson Hagen, Dario Cataldo, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio, Luke Rowe, Rigoberto Uran and Xabier Zandio.
Confirming the final selection for the Vuelta a Espana team, Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “It’s a testament to the strength and depth in this team that we can line up in all three Grand Tours this year with such strong squads.
“We’ve watched Sergio develop since he joined the team and this is a great opportunity for him to demonstrate what he is capable of on a big stage like the Vuelta.
“We have selected a squad for all eventualities out on the road and we’re excited to get started and to try to build on our success this season.”
Team leader Sergio Henao said: “The Vuelta is a huge race for me and an important and prestigious event.
“It is an honour to be picked as the team leader and it’s a responsibility that I want to try and fulfil. I respect what the team has asked of me and I want to try and make the most out of the opportunity.
“The Vuelta is always a hard race and it’s getting tougher every year. There are a lot of great riders targeting the race this season and the racing is going to be at a really high level.”
The full Team Sky line-up for the 2013 Vuelta a Espana will be:
Sergio Henao, Colombia – age 25
Henao has been a revelation since bursting onto the European scene in 2012 and deserves his newfound status as team leader. The Colombian claimed a top-10 finish in his first-ever Grand Tour at last year’s Giro d’Italia, and also enjoyed a spell in the coveted white jersey. This season he has already claimed stage victories on mountain-top finishes at the Volta ao Algarve and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and his explosive climbing ability marks him out as one of the sport’s most exciting talents.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Norway – age 26
The Norwegian all-rounder is back to full fitness after fracturing his right scapula at this summer’s Tour de France. It will be the first time Edvald has taken part in the Vuelta and he will be looking to join an elite group of riders who have won stages in all three Grand Tours following his successes at the Giro d’Italia in 2009 and Tour de France in 2011.
Dario Cataldo, Italy – age 28
Cataldo will be making his 10th Grand Tour appearance at this year’s Vuelta and his all-round capabilities will be of huge benefit to the squad. The Italian has happy memories of this race, having claimed a notable victory on the queen stage of last year’s edition on the steep ramps of the Cuitu Negru climb.
Vasil Kiryienka, Belarus – age 32
Since joining Team Sky at the start of the season, Vasil Kiryienka has consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s best domestiques. The Belarusian’s power, consistency and machine-like riding style has already helped Team Sky to six race wins in 2013, and the 32 year old is more than capable of competing for stage victories himself, should the opportunity arise.
Christian Knees, Germany – age 32
Knees is one of Team Sky’s most experienced riders and will be making his 12th Grand Tour appearance at this year’s Vuelta. The former German champion was an integral part of Team Sky’s Tour de France-winning team in 2012 and helped Rigoberto Uran to second place overall at this season’s Giro d’Italia.
Salvatore Puccio, Italy – age 23
Puccio hit the headlines in May when he took the race leader’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia, and after a spell in the maglia rosa, he resumed his selfless support of his team-mates. The young Italian has a bright future ahead of him and will be a vital cog in Team Sky’s Vuelta a Espana machine.
Luke Rowe, United Kingdom – age 23
Rowe has enjoyed a seamless transition since turning professional at the start of 2012 and has been rewarded with this – his debut Grand Tour ride. The Welshman sealed his first stage victory at the Tour of Britain last season and will be looking to continue his progression during the three weeks of action.
Rigoberto Uran, Colombia – age 26
Uran’s second-placed finish at the Giro d’Italia marked him out as one of the world’s best Grand Tour riders and his stage victory on the summit of the Altopiano del Montasio also demonstrated his phenomenal climbing talent. Uran will be riding in support of Henao this time around, but is more than capable of challenging for top honours again, should the need arise.
Xabier Zandio, Spain – age 36
Zandio is Team Sky’s most experienced Grand Tour rider with 14 appearances already under his belt. The Spaniard is one of the strongest and most reliable domestiques in the sport, and his tactical knowledge and solid climbing abilities make him a valuable asset to any Grand Tour team.