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Tour de France: Sir Dave Brailsford says Team Sky's strength will be key

Team Sky press conference, Mercure Hotel Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. Sir David Brailsford Chris Froome and Team Sky riders (Picture:
Image: Sir David Brailsford flanked by Chris Froome (right) and Mikel Landa (left) at Team Sky's pre-Tour de France press conference (Picture:

Sir Dave Brailsford believes the strength of Team Sky’s line-up will be the “defining factor” in Chris Froome’s bid to win the Tour de France.

Froome is looking to claim the yellow jersey for the third time in his career and will be backed by one of the most powerful support teams ever assembled in a grand tour.

Geraint Thomas, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve, Sergio Henao and Wout Poels will ride for Froome in the mountains, while Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and Vasil Kiryienka will protect him on the flat and rolling stages.

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Thomas, Landa, Henao and Poels are all potential team leaders in their own right and Brailsford believes their pedigree will be pivotal, as long as they stick to the team goal.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Saturday's opening stage in Normandy, the Team Sky principal said: "The defining factor is the strength of the team. Everyone has led Sky in their own right during the season and so they all know how to play a leadership role. Now the challenge is to come together and fulfil the team function.

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Froome discusses his rivals and strategy ahead of the 2016 Tour de France

"We've potentially got the strongest team on paper, but as they say: a star team will always beat a team of stars. Now it's about coming together and achieving that."

Given that Team Sky start the Tour with the race favourite and arguably the strongest line-up, there is a danger that rival squads could work together against them.

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Brailsford acknowledges the possibility but insists it will not affect Team Sky's strategy.

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He added: "If you worry about people ganging up on you, you are not able to focus on yourself. We'll make the race and choose our tactics accordingly. It's about being proactive and controlling, rather than worrying about other people."

Froome's build-up to the Tour has been different from his previous wins, in 2013 and 2015, due to the fact he is also targeting the Olympic Games and Vuelta a Espana later in the summer and needs to hold peak form longer than usual.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2016 (Picture:
Image: Froome poses for photos with his Tour team-mates (Picture:

Brailsford, however, is adamant Froome's late rise to form will not put him at a disadvantage.

He said: "We've got a fantastic leader. He took a slightly different approach to the season this year, coming into top form later to hold it into the Olympics and second part of season. It's been a different way of doing it, but Chris is in great shape."

The Tour starts with a flat stage in Normandy on Saturday and ends in Paris on Sunday, July 24.

Follow every stage of the race with our live blogs from 1pm BST each day.

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