Team Sky head into February with a host of strong squads set to take on some tough early-season challenges.
The Classics preparation continues in earnest at the Tour of Qatar (3-8 February) where a who’s who of cycling’s hard men will look to string things out in the cross-winds. The next step following a successful Tour Down Under, all seven of the team’s riders in Australia - Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Chris Sutton and Geraint Thomas – will be joined by a debuting Gabriel Rasch.
At the same time the team will also be making the short trip from their training base to tackle the four-day Mallorca Challenge event (February 3-6). Each day consists of a separate UCI-ranked 1.1 race, with teams able to rotate and pick from a squad of 10 across the four days. Ian Boswell, Josh Edmondson, David Lopez and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke all make their Team Sky debuts, while Sir Bradley Wiggins also starts his year in familiar surroundings.
A race which is rocketing in stature, the Tour of Oman (February 11-16) sees a quality-packed field compete, with Team Sky no exception with an impressive eight-man squad. Chris Froome and Wiggins link up for the first time this season alongside debutants Dario Cataldo, Joe Dombrowski and Vasil Kiryienka. Christian Knees and Richie Porte round out a very strong team.
Team Sky will be back to defend their title at the Volta ao Algarve (14-17 February) with a number of riders heading from Mallorca to the Portuguese stage race. Boswell, Edmondson, Sergio Henao, Lopez, Danny Pate, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Tiernan-Locke and Rigoberto Uran is a roster with plenty of firepower.
The Classics kick off with an exciting opening weekend in Belgium and the double-header of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 23) and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (February 24).
Looking for a repeat of the team’s victory in 2010, the Classics group of Boasson Hagen, Eisel, Hayman, Rasch, Stannard, Swift and Thomas are joined by Salvatore Puccio at Het Nieuwsblad, while the next day Rowe and 2011 winner Sutton swap places with Puccio and Rasch in the Kuurne line-up.
Three days later Team Sky make their debut appearance at the one-day Le Samyn race (February 27) with the Classics group taking to the start again.
You can find full squads for all of Team Sky’s February fixtures on our races page.