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Giro d'Italia

Sky aims to be ‘key player’ at Giro with Thomas and Landa

Welshman Geraint Thomas and Spain’s Mikel Landa will present a two-pronged challenge to Giro d’Italia GC for Team Sky.

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PARIS (AFP) — Welshman Geraint Thomas and Spain’s Mikel Landa will present a two-pronged challenge to Giro d’Italia GC at the centenary race May 5-28. The British team unveiled its lineup on Friday.

Climber Landa was Sky’s sole leader in Italy last year, but pulled out with flu on stage 10. The 27-year-old finished third in 2015 with Astana. That year he also won two stages at the Giro.

“As always, it is a race for the climbers and I think that will suit me. We have a strong team, and I’m really looking forward to returning to the Giro with Team Sky,” said Landa. In the mountains, he’ll be supported by Sebastian Henao and Kenny Elissonde.

Thomas has the experience of guiding a better climber to victory as he did three times at the Tour de France with Chris Froome.

“I can’t wait to get there. I know it’s going to be a really strong field at the Giro, and it will be a tough, unpredictable race,” said the 30-year-old who co-led Sky with Landa at the recent Tour of the Alps, which he eventually won. Thomas also won stage 2 at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this spring, as well as Paris-Nice 2016.

Sky’s team principal Dave Brailsford insisted his team was a serious contender despite the absence of Froome.

“Our focus for the race will be to compete on GC. In Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas we’re coming into the race with two key riders who will be trying to achieve that,” said Brailsford.

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“The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia is going to be a special race. We want to make sure we are a key player in it and that we go there and make our mark,” he said.

Former world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka may also be an option to win one of the time trials in stage 10 or the final day in Milano. He won the Giro’s stage 14 individual time trial in 2015.

Sky’s Giro team

Philip Deignan (Irl)
Kenny Elissonde (F)
Michal Golas (P)
Sebastian Henao (Col)
Vasil Kiryienka (Blr)
Mikel Landa (Sp)
Salvatore Puccio (I)
Diego Rosa (I)
Geraint Thomas (GB)