Team Sky Tour de France squad announced
Richie Porte and Sky chase, Criterium du Dauphine 2012, stage five
Team Sky have today announced the nine-man squad that will ride the 2012 Tour de France in support of Bradley Wiggins' bid for overall victory.
Mark Cavendish unsurprisingly makes the cut although the remaining seven riders have been chosen with Wiggins in mind.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Chris Froome, Christian Knees, Richie Porte, Michael Rogers and Kanstantsin Siutsou will complete the line-up at the opening stage in Liege on June 30.
The biggest name to miss out on selection is American Danny Pate who rode with Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in early June.
"We believe we have picked a strong and balanced team though, and one which can cater for any eventuality," said Sky team manager Dave Brailsford.
"Our priority this year is the General Classification with Bradley but that doesn't mean we'll neglect the sprint stages, or Mark's bid for [the] green jersey."
Froome, Porte and Rogers will likely be Wiggins' 'mountain-men' capable of supporting him on the race's toughest climbing stages.
Siutsou and Knees should be there too but look to have also been chosen with one eye on the rolling terrain, and the numerous opportunities for Wiggins to be caught out, that feature in the opening stages of this year's race.
"I'm really proud to be part of such a strong unit going into the Tour de France. The team's preparation has been perfectly managed and our form this season gives us a great chance of being successful," said Wiggins.
"I've been waiting for this moment for a long time and I'll do everything I can to win the Tour de France."
For the first time in three years, Cavendish will be without a full leadout train for the Tour. His long-standing team-mate Eisel will accompany the World Champion in his hunt for stage wins while versatile Norwegian Boassan Hagen can support both Cavendish and Wiggins, as well as aiming for stage wins himself.