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Chris Froome team leader at Vuelta Espana
Aug 10th, 12. After finishing 2nd overall at the Tour de France behind team leader Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome gets his chance to step up as leader at the Vuelta Espana.
Froome will lead Team Sky at the Spanish Grand Tour which starts in Pamplona on Saturday August 18.
The 27 year old, who won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games, is looking to improve on his 2nd placed finish in last year's Vuelta - he finished one place ahead of teammate Wiggins.
"It's always been my plan to ride the Vuelta," explained Froome. "I'll be going into the race as team leader but that's not to say we don't have other guys who can be right up there on the GC.
Froome will be joined by Juan Antonio Flecha, Sergio Henao, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio.
"I'm going to do the best job I can and do whatever's required of me from the team.
"Initially I'll be riding for the GC, but if one of my teammates shows that they're in a better place to win the race then I'll happily work for them. We're sending a first-rate squad and it should be a really exciting race."
Team Sky line-up
Urán already has a Top10 Grand Tour finish to his name this season, winning the young rider's classification on his way to a career-best 7th overall in May's Giro d'Italia.
The Olympic road race silver medallist will provide key support to Froome in the mountains along with Colombian compatriot Henao, who has wrapped up podium positions in his last two races (the Vuelta a Burgos and Tour de Pologne) and also donned the Giro's white jersey in a remarkable first season in the pro ranks.
Australia's Porte – the reigning Volta ao Algarve champion who also played an integral part in Team Sky's historic Tour de France victory and preceding campaign – will be another invaluable asset to Froome in the mountains, along with Spaniard Zandio, who brings great experience to his home Grand Tour.
Fellow Spaniard Flecha – riding his 17th Grand Tour - has all the qualities required of a road captain, with British national champion Stannard and America's Pate possessing the horsepower to help the team on both the flats and climbs.
Brit Swift is the team's designated sprinter and heads into the race in fine form having taken a brace of victories at the recent Tour de Pologne.
"We've got a strong and well-balanced team going to the Vuelta," said Swift. "There are a lot of guys there to support Froomey in the mountains and I'm expecting him to have a really good race. He's been unbelievable this season and I'm sure he'll be able to continue that form and challenge for the top step on the podium."
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