As expected, defending champion Chris Froome will spearhead Team Sky's quest for a third consecutive Tour de France title and a fifth in six years next month.

The three-time winner will go in search of a fourth Yellow Jersey supported by a very capable and experienced cast of riders led by key lieutenant and co-captain Geraint Thomas, who was forced to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia in May with injuries sustained when a stationary police motorbike caused an ugly pile-up on stage nine from Montenero di Bisaccia to Blockhaus.

Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve and fellow Briton Luke Rowe will also join Froome for the 104th edition of the world-famous Grand Tour event that begins with a 14-kilometre time trial in Dusseldorf on 1 July and concludes 22 days later on the Champs-Elysees.

Dutchman Wout Poels misses out following a serious knee injury that has limited him to just one race - the Route du Sud - since February, while Ian Stannard and Peter Kennaugh are the two other headline omissions.

"The Tour de France is a special race and it would just be incredible to win it for a fourth time," Froome said after Team Sky officially announced their lineup on Thursday (22 June). "Aiming for that fourth victory has given me a lot of motivation.


"To me, each Tour tells a different story. Every Tour is a different battle in terms of getting that Yellow Jersey and then trying to hold on to it. We're ready as a team and I can't wait for the Tour to start now. Honestly, I just love it. It's a feeling that you don't get from any other race."

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford appeared bullish on Froome's chances, adding: "We're really looking forward to the Tour. Chris is in good shape and he's ready for it. To win the Tour once is a huge achievement, but to win it a fourth time would be remarkable.

"We've selected a strong and experienced lineup who will support him, and we'll be looking to use the strength of the team to our advantage."