Sky boss Dave Brailsford is tickled pink with Chris Froome’s overall victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné, but admitted it won’t be easy to select the eight other riders to accompany him to the Tour de France.
Speaking to Sky News, team principal Brailsford said he won’t make his final selection about who will fill out Sky’s Tour de France squad until the Tour de Suisse is completed this weekend.
“We have a nine-man team and way more than nine riders who are knocking on the door, so I am going to have to sit down and scratch my head,” Brailsford told Sky News.
“It’s been a real challenge to pick the final squad with a lot of the guys stepping up, there is another big race going on in Switzerland at the moment; Geraint Thomas is sitting in second place after a couple of stages and he is looking fantastic at the minute.”
At the beginning of the year, Sky raised the stakes by signing several high-profile riders to back Froome in a bid for a second yellow jersey, including Nicolas Roche, Leopold Konig, and Wout Poels.
Behind them are Sky stalwarts, such as Richie Porte, Peter Kennough, and Geraint Thomas. All six of those riders are all but assured a spot. The final two will likely be decided between riders such as Mikel Nieve, Sergio Henao, Ian Stannard, Danny Pate, Vasil Kiryienka, and David Lopez.
Brailsford will need to strike a balance between bringing some strong climbers for the decisive second half of the Tour, but also pack the team with a few strong and experienced riders to protect Froome’s flanks when he most vulnerable in the first half.
“I’ll get the emotion out of the way and sit down calmly and see what we need, what kind of riders do we need for this race,” Brailsford said. “I’ll wait until the Tour of Switzerland finishes, look at who is in form, and then try and marry up the demands and the in-form riders and go with them.”