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Ian Boswell finds himself on a direct path toward the dominant Tour de France team of his era. On Monday, the American signed with Team Sky for an additional two years.
He’s already on Team Sky, of course, and has been for three years. But inside the British powerhouse lies a team within a team — the group of riders who surround Chris Froome from the start of the season, through early season tests like Paris-Nice and Tour de France tune-ups like the Critérium du Dauphiné. These riders, men like Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Leopold Konig, and, until his recent exit to BMC, Richie Porte, ride through much of the season together, train at altitude camps together, and build toward a single goal: the Tour.
Boswell wants to count himself in their number. “That’s my goal and the team’s goal for me for the next two years,” Boswell said.
“Stage racing is something that I’m really focused on. With my development this year, and in talking with the team during this [Vuelta a España], in the next year or two years I want to be more involved in the grand tour squad. I’d spend a bit more time with guys like Froome and G [Thomas] in the lead-up races, in the Dauphiné, in the spring at Paris-Nice, get to some camps at altitude that they do.”
Boswell, 24, completed his first grand tour on Sunday. His three-week ride through Spain was capped by a third-place finish in the race’s queen stage, a 138km route that crossed six peaks and covered more than 16,000 feet of elevation. Only Mikel Landa and eventual Vuelta winner Fabio Aru, both of Astana, beat him to the top of the final climb.
The slight Oregon native, who now calls Nice, France home, has showed flashes of stage race ability throughout the season. He was seventh overall at the Tour of California and third in the toughest stage atop Mt Baldy. He rode well at the Dauphiné in June, working well for Froome in the high mountains. The Vuelta stage podium proved he recovers well, and is capable of putting in a good ride a week and a half into a difficult stage race.
“It’s really only been this year that it’s all come together and all these lessons I’ve learned are paying off,” he said Monday. “It’s been a really nice, progressive development. I’m in the system, I know how it works, the know the protocol for training and racing.”
The two-year contract extension is proof that Sky is confident in its young American.
“I’ve been with Sky for three years, I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that the Tour is the focus of the team,” he said. “That’s why they hired me, and it’s why I came to the team in the first place. That’s my next step, and my focus. We’ll see how I respond.”