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Chris Froome before the start of stage 2 at...

Froome ‘focused on racing’ as Sky names Giro squad

Chris Froome will lead Team Sky at the upcoming Giro d'Italia

Chris Froome (Sky) will try to downplay his ongoing Salbutamol case as he takes aim for the Giro d’Italia next month.

Team Sky revealed its “Giro Eight” on Friday with a solid team to support Froome as he tries to win a third straight grand tour dating back to the 2017 Tour de France.

Froome, however, hopes that the still unresolved case involving his adverse analytical finding from last year’s Vuelta a España won’t be a distraction.

“[I] recognize the wider issues and as I have said before I am doing everything I can, together with the team, to help resolve them as quickly as possible,” Froome said Friday. “In the meantime I am focused on racing. I would love to win the maglia rosa, but I am under no illusions whatsoever about how hard the race will be.”

So far this season, his Salbutamol case has not stopped Froome from racing. Rules allow him to compete during the process and he’s raced in three events  — Ruta del Sol, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of the Alps — in what’s been a quiet buildup for the Giro.

There have been no victories so far and Froome has tried to deflect media pressure as the Salbutamol case continues to churn behind the scenes. Officials all but admit that the case will not be resolved by the time the Giro starts next week but there is hope it will be closed before the start of the Tour de France in July.

Froome’s presence at early season races has drawn a gaggle of media, but he’s deftly handled questions without giving too much away while he lets his legal team prepare the case. Froome faces up to a two-year racing ban and disqualification of his 2017 Vuelta crown after testing for double the allowed limits of Salbutamol. Froome insists he did nothing wrong and hopes he can be cleared of charges.

Froome doggedly has continued to train and race despite the ongoing case. The Giro attempt is part of an ambitious season that also includes a planned return to the Tour in July.

Froome announced his intention of racing the Giro-Tour double last fall, and only weeks later, his case was leaked to newspapers in the United Kingdom and France. The controversy has not altered Froome’s goal of trying to win the Giro and Tour in the same season.

“I’ve had a different start to the season as I’ve obviously been aiming to try and reach my peak quite a bit earlier than usual,” Froome said. “But the target of going for a third consecutive grand tour has given me new motivation. Of course, there is an element of risk involved in targeting the Giro before the Tour, but I think I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t give this race a go.”

Froome certainly won’t be complaining about his team. Sky brings a Tour-caliber squad as it tries to win the Giro for the first time in franchise history. Supporting Froome will be David de la Cruz, Kenny Elissonde, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Wout Poels, and Salvatore Puccio.