Team Sky miss Irish riders off Tour de France shortlist
Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan may still make team while Sam Bennet leader for Bora-Aragon18
Sam Bennett has been confirmed as one of Bora-Argon18’s two leaders for the Tour de France. Photograph: Getty
What appears to have been an inadvertent - and, according to the Sky team, inaccurate - shortlist for the Tour de France caused concerns on Tuesday for Irish cycling fans, with the squad’s two Irish riders missing from the 11 names published on the team website.
There was no mention of Nicolas Roche or Philip Deignan, both of whom have ridden well for Froome this year. At least one of those was expected to be in the lineup, not least because of the importance of the Irish market to Sky.
Contacted by the Irish Times, a team spokesman said that the list was inaccurate. “Firstly, a longlist would normally have 14 riders,” he said. “Also, what went up was caused by an error by a third party provider and doesn’t reflect the Tour team.
“The nine man lineup for the race will be released on Monday.”
Asked for confirmation that he meant that one or both of the Irish duo haven’t been ruled out at this point in time, he said this was the case.
Froome stated on Twitter on Saturday that he was doing pre Tour de France training with Roche. The Irishman rode for Froome’s top rival Alberto Contador in 2013 and 2014, but transferred across to Sky prior to the start of this season.
He has ridden the Tour every year since 2009.
Meanwhile, already named on the Bora-Argon18 team shortlist for the Tour, Sam Bennett was reconfirmed on Tuesday as one of two leaders for the race as the finale lineup was solidified.
The second year pro, who will make his Tour debut next month, is the appointed leader for the bunch sprints, while the German Dominik Nerz will represent the team’s hopes for the general classification.
“We currently see a very high performance level of the entire team. Accordingly, it was a close decision to name the final places in the Tour squad,” said team manager Ralph Denk. “Ultimately, we decided for an experienced team that supports our dual leadership with Sam Bennett and Dominik Nerz at its best.
“For this year’s profile of the Tour de France, we appointed a good balance of Classic specialists and climbers.”
The news assuages concerns that Bennett might be forced to take a lesser role or even miss the race altogether. He has been ill in recent weeks and missed two warmup events, but is now building up for the Tour start in Utrecht on July 4.
Thus far Bennett and Cannondale-Garmin’s Dan Martin are the only two Irish riders confirmed for the race.