British Grand Tour contenders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome make their 2012 season debut on Wednesday at the Tour of the Algarve, Portugal.

The duo join a strong line-up for the British-based Sky team that also includes Australian Richie Porte making his debut appearance for the squad. Edvald Boasson Hagen will contest the race’s flatter stages.

Sky will come up against 19 other teams in the five-day race that culminates in an individual time trial on Sunday, February 19. Along with the individual test against the clock, Friday’s stage three is a crucial day finishing on the Alto do Malhao climb.

Defending 2011 winner Tony Martin returns to the race with his new team, Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Martin won the final time trial last year to unseat stage three winner, Briton Steve Cummings from the overall race lead. Cummings eventually finished sixth overall – he returns this year for new team BMC Racing.

Froome and Wiggins finished the Vuelta a Espana last September in second and third place respectively behind overall winner Juan Jose Cobo. It was the strongest showing by British riders in a Grand Tour in history.

Wiggins is aiming for an overall win at the Tour de France in July, before contesting the Olympic Games time trial in London.

Tour of the Algarve 2012: Stages

Stage one, Wednesday February 15, Dunas Douradas to Albufeira, 151km

Stage two, Thursday February 16, Faro to Lagoa, 187.5km

Stage three, Friday February 17, Castro Marim to Malhao, 194.6km

Stage four, Saturday February 18, Vilamoura to Tavira, 186.3km

Stage five, Sunday February 19, Lagoa to Portimao, 25.8km ITT

Tour of the Algarve 2012: Team list

Ag2r La Mondial

An Post-Sean Kelly

BMC Racing

Caja Rural

Carmin-Prio

Efapel-Glassdrive

Garmin-Barracuda

La Antarte Rota dos Moveis

Lotto-Belisol

Movistar

Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Onda-Boavista

Rabobank

RadioShack-Nissan

Rusvelo

Saxo Bank

Sky

Topsport Vlaanderen

United Healthcare

Vacansoleil-DCM

Related links



Tour of Oman 2012: Coverage index