• Chris Froome at the 2016 Criterium du Dauphine (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
Chris Froome is hungrier than ever to win a career third and Team Sky’s fourth Tour de France title at the 103rd edition next month.
Sophie Smith

23 Jun 2016 - 8:14 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2016 - 1:24 PM

The defending Tour champion spearheads Sky’s nine-man squad confirmed on Wednesday, with Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels rounding it out.

Froome has observed a more conservative approach to the season in an effort to be more competitive in the third week of the Tour, which he enters on the back of overall victory at the Criterium du Dauphine.

The 31-year-old was formidable at the Dauphine this month with what effectively was his Tour support, excluding Thomas, Kiryienka and Nieve.

“I feel in good shape coming into the race this year and am fortunate to have a strong team around me – both on and off the bike,” Froome said.

“Every rider obviously starts every new Tour equal and what has gone before counts for nothing. This year I am hungrier than ever for success.

"We know how hard this race will be and how much we will have to give if we want to win it again. But we have trained hard. We’re ready for the challenge and can’t wait to get back racing in front of the millions of people in France, who make the race so special.”

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Thomas replaces Richie Porte (BMC) as a second-in-charge to Froome and the Welshman will be given room where possible to improve on his 15th overall place at the race last season.

Froome is wary of his former confidant turned race rival, Porte, who he noted held measure at the Dauphine. Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who claimed victory at Route du Sud last week, as well as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) are among other chief competition.

“Of course there are a number of riders in other teams capable of putting in a challenge for overall victory,” Sky principal David Brailsford said.

“Every Tour is different, so that means choosing the team we believe is best equipped to deal with the many different challenges of this race. We have selected a talented group of riders with Chris as the leader once again. I know they will do everything they can to help him try to win yellow.”

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