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Aug 18, 2014 – Chris Froome will lead Team Sky at the Tour of Spain after overcoming the hand and wrist injuries which forced him to abandon his defence of the Tour de France last month. The 21-stage Tour gets under way on Saturday with a team time trial through Jerez de la Frontera.
AFP/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad
Froome was forced to retire from the Tour de France after just five stages following three heavy crashes in two days and is keen to make amends for that disappointment over the next month in Spain.
“This is exactly the sort of challenge that I need after the disappointment of withdrawing from the Tour de France,” he said. “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.”
Froome’s breakthrough on the Grand Tour stage came at the Vuelta when he finished second back in 2011. However, he faces stiff competition if he is to win the event for a first time as Colombian Nairo Quintana will be full of confidence after winning the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, whilst two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has also overcome injury to take part.
“I’ve always really enjoyed racing at the Vuelta, it’s a tough race but a great opportunity for the whole team,” added Froome. “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.”
Froome will be joined by fellow Brits Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe with Philip Deignan, Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Christian Knees and Dario Cataldo making up the nine-man strong team.
“Chris Froome will be our team leader and it’s great to have him back on the bike and focused on the challenge ahead,” said Sky Team Principal Dave Brailsford. “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.”