Team Sky's early-season line-ups unveiled
Russell Downing, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2010
Team Sky has unveiled its early-season line-ups for top-level international races during January and February 2011.
Michael Rogers will make his debut for the squad at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia, from January 18-23. Rogers joins Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Greg Henderson, Chris Sutton, Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas at the UCI WorldTour opener.
Last year, Sky made its racing debut at the TdU, with Henderson winning the Cancer Council Classic one-day prelude race and Sutton claiming the final stage of the series itself. German Andre Greipel won overall for HTC-Columbia in 2010, and will be hoping to repeat his success for new team Omega Pharma-Lotto against fellow fastmen Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo).
After the TdU, the Sky takes a short break before embarking on a packed programme of events in Feburary, commencing with the Tour of Qatar in the Middle East (February 6-11).
Jeremy Hunt makes his Sky debut in Qatar having joined the squad from the now defunct Cervelo outfit. He rides alongside Bradley Wiggins in his first race of the season. Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Russell Downing, Alex Dowsett, Juan Antonio Flecha, Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Ian Stannard complete the team.
Running alongside the Tour of Qatar, Sky field a strong squad in the Tour of the Mediterranean (February 9-13) featuring another new signing, Davide Appollonio, with John-Lee Augustyn, Michael Barry, Kjell Carlstrom, Steve Cummings, Serge Pauwels, Morris Possoni and Xabier Zandio.
Sky powerhouse Edvald Boasson Hagen will be looking for a strong start to 2011 at the Tour of Oman (February 15-20) after an injury-blighted 2010. The Norwegian won two stages in the 2010 Tour of Oman and went on to claim the points and young riders classification after spending a spell in the overall lead, but his spring classics season was wrecked due to tendonitis. He will be supported by Arvesen, Downing, Flecha, Hayman, Hunt, Stannard and Sutton.
Team Sky then fields squads in the Volta ao Algarve, Portugal (February 16-20), Vuelta a Andalucia, Spain (February 20-24), Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Belgium (February 26) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Belgium (February 27).
Team Sky: early season squads
Tour Down Under, Australia (January 18-23)
Michael Rogers, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Greg Henderson, Chris Sutton, Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas
Tour of Qatar (February 6-11)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Russell Downing, Alex Dowsett, Juan Antonio Flecha, Jeremy Hunt, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Ian Stannard and Bradley Wiggins
Tour of the Mediterranean (February 9-13)
Davide Appollonio, John-Lee Augustyn, Michael Barry, Kjell Carlstrom, Steve Cummings, Serge Pauwels, Morris Possoni and Xabier Zandio
Tour of Oman (February 15-20)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Russell Downing, Juan Antonio Flecha, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mathew Hayman, Jeremy Hunt, Ian Stannard and Chris Sutton
Volta ao Algarve (February 16-20)
John-Lee Augustyn, Michael Barry, Kjell Carlstrom, Dario Cioni, Steve Cummings, Simon Gerrans, Greg Henderson and Serge Pauwels
Vuelta a Andalucia (February 20-24)
Davide Appollonio, Alex Dowsett, Peter Kennaugh, Thomas Lofkvist, Michael Rogers, Rigoberto Uran and Xabier Zandio
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Michael Barry, Russell Downing, Juan Antonio Flecha, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mathew Hayman, Jeremy Hunt and Ian Stannard
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (February 27)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Juan Antonio Flecha, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mathew Hayman, Greg Henderson, Jeremy Hunt, Ian Stannard, Chris Sutton and Geraint Thomas