Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has “unfinished business” at the Vuelta a Espana.
The 32-year-old has finished second three times, in 2011, 2014 and 2016, and has the support of fellow Briton Ian Stannard and two of the Team Sky colleagues who in July helped him win a fourth Tour when the race begins on August 19 in Nimes, France.
The race concludes in Madrid on September 10, when Froome will hope to emulate Jacques Anquetil in 1963 and Bernard Hinault in 1978 in winning the Tour and Vuelta in the same year.
The Spanish race was moved to become the third and final Grand Tour of the year in 1995, making the task tougher.
“It certainly feels as if I’ve got unfinished business with this race,” said Froome, Tour champion in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“I’ve finished second three times now, but I’ve got a good feeling about this year’s Vuelta.
“It feels like we’re on much more of a mission this year, and aiming for the Tour-Vuelta double this season has been a huge motivation.
“I don’t think we’ve been to the Vuelta a Espana with a team as strong as we’ve got this year.”
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “Chris has the chance to write history alongside them and cement his place as one of the all-time greats of the sport.
“But we know from experience just how tough and competitive the Vuelta is as a race.”
Froome will be joined by Stannard, who helped him to victory at the 2013, 2015 and 2016 Tours, plus Christian Knees and Mikel Nieve, who were key components of the team in July which saw Froome win a fourth yellow jersey in five years.
Wout Poels, who was a key lieutenant when Froome won the 2015 and 2016 Tours, also starts the Vuelta, as does David Lopez, a member of the victorious 2013 Tour team.
Diego Rosa is one of three Italians in the team, alongside Salvatore Puccio and Gianni Moscon.
Moscon served a six-week suspension earlier this year, given a written warning and was sent on a diversity awareness course for racially abusing a rival rider, FDJ’s Kevin Reza, at April’s Tour de Romandie.