Froome spearheads Sky's assault on Vuelta

Chris Froome (Gallo Images)
Chris Froome (Gallo Images)

London - Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome said he had "unfinished business" with the Vuelta a Espana after Team Sky unveiled their line-up for this year's race on Monday.

Froome, 32, hopes to emulate Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978) by becoming only the third rider to win the Tour and the Vuelta in the same year.

A three-time Vuelta runner-up, Froome will be boosted by the presence of key climber Wout Poels, who returns after missing the Tour due to a knee injury.

"It certainly feels as if I've got unfinished business with this race," Froome said in a Sky press release.

"I've finished second three times now, but I've got a good feeling about this year's Vuelta.

"It feels like we're on much more of a mission this year and aiming for the Tour/Vuelta double this season has been a huge motivation.

"I don't think we've been to the Vuelta a Espana with a team as strong as we've got this year."

Froome's three second-place finishes at the Vuelta came in 2011, 2014 and 2016, the last of which followed his third Tour de France triumph.

This year's Vuelta begins with a time-trial in the southern French city of Nimes on August 19.

General manager Dave Brailsford hopes the return of Dutchman Poels will give Sky an edge.

"We go into the race with Chris supported by another group of very talented riders," Brailsford said.

"It is great to have Wout Poels back after injury and it is an opportunity for him to put his mark on the season after a challenging year.

"I believe this Vuelta can be a defining moment for Team Sky and for Chris Froome."

While Sky have won the Tour in five of the last six years -- first with Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and then four times with Froome -- they have yet to win either of the other Grand Tours: the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta.

Sky team for the Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome, Wout Poels, Mikel Nieve, Diego Rosa, David Lopez, Gianni Moscon, Salvatore Puccio, Ian Stannard, Christian Knees

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