Boswell to help Froome at Vuelta in grand tour debut

Sky reveals its Vuelta a Espana lineup as Chris Froome prepares to take on the Tour-Vuelta double.

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Ian Boswell will help Sky’s Chris Froome at the 70th Vuelta a España in his grand tour debut.

The 24-year-old joined Sky in 2013, and sees his first grand tour nod as Froome tries to become the first rider to win the Tour de France and Vuelta a España in succession.

Sky confirmed its Vuelta lineup Monday, which has strong support for two-time Tour champ Froome that includes Nicolas Roche and Geraint Thomas from the Tour, as well as Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka, and Christian Knees. Salvatore Puccio will try his luck in the sprints.

Froome has been busy since winning his second Tour within three years, racing nine criteriums across Europe, but he said he’s up for the challenge of racing the Vuelta.

“I have great memories from this race so I’m pleased to be back. I’ve had a good rest after the Tour and now I’m ready for my next challenge,” Froome said in a team release. “The competition will be tough and this is bike racing so anything can happen, but we have an excellent team and we’re ready to get the race started.”

The Monday announcement confirms Froome’s run at the Tour-Vuelta double. Only two riders have won the Vuelta and Tour in the same season — Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978) — but that was when the Vuelta was held in April. Since the Vuelta was moved to September in 1995, no one has won the Vuelta after taking yellow on the Champs-Élysées.

There is a sense of ambiguity, at least publicly, about what Sky is expecting at the Tour. Froome is the top favorite in any grand tour he starts, but he seems to be trying to take pressure off himself before the race starts.

Sky principal Dave Brailsford revealed that the team appears to be riding into the Vuelta trying to lower expectations. That’s not to say Sky isn’t hoping to win with Froome, but it seems that Sky doesn’t want to put all the pressure of being the race favorite.

“We’ve selected a strong squad for the Vuelta that has the right blend of talent and experience to support Chris Froome through the tough three weeks ahead,” Brailsford said.

Boswell, meanwhile, will race to set up Froome for the decisive climbing stages. In his third season in the pro ranks, he’s stepped up, riding on winning Sky teams at Algarve, Trentino, Yorkshire, and the Critérium du Dauphiné, as well as riding to seventh at the Amgen Tour of California in May.

Team Sky for 70th Vuelta a España

Chris Froome (GB)
Geraint Thomas (GB)
Nicolas Roche (Irl)
Sergio Henao (Col)
Mikel Nieve (Sp)
Vasil Kiryienka (Brs)
Christian Knees (G)
Salvatore Puccio (I)
Ian Boswell (USA)

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