Team Sky pen pics

  • Last Updated: July 1 2014, 12:55 BST

Here is a look at Team Sky squad for this year's Tour de France which starts on July 5 in Yorkshire.

  • Geraint Thomas: His all-round abilities will be key
  • Chris Froome leads the charge for Team Sky 

CHRIS FROOME

Country: Great Britain

Age: 29

The defending champion has kept up his form with victories in the Tours of Oman and Romandie this season and was leading the Criterium du Dauphine until a heavy crash dented his momentum, causing a slight concern ahead of the gruelling Tour.

Sir Dave Brailsford's verdict: "I'd say Chris Froome is the best stage race rider in the world. It's the combination of being one of the world's best time-triallers and one of the world's best climbers, together, that makes him such a potent force."

RICHIE PORTE

Country: Australia

Age: 29

As was the case last year, Porte will be Froome's foremost support man as the British rider bids for Team Sky's third consecutive Tour title. Has won the Paris-Nice and the Volta ao Algarve in the past.

Brailsford: "Richie's a tremendous climbing talent and, if you like, Chris Froome's lieutenant for a number of years now. Richie will win a grand tour in his own right - who's to say he can't win this year's Tour de France?"

GERAINT THOMAS

Country: Great Britain

Age: 28

The Welshman wore the white jersey for the leading young rider for stretches of the 2010 and 2011 tours and his all-round abilities and dedication will be vital to the team.

Brailsford: "He's a dream to have on the team because he can suffer, this guy is unbelievable - if you want commitment and suffering, this is your man. You have the leader and you build people around that, specifically to play a role of self-sacrifice. It takes a certain type of person. Geraint fractured his pelvis in last year's Tour and he still finished, that says it all about him."

MIKEL NIEVE

Country: Spain

Age: 30

A newcomer to the team this season, Nieve was part of Froome's support squad in both Oman and Romandie and won the final stage of the Dauphine. Climbing is his strong suit.

Brailsford: "Mikel is an expert climber. We signed him this year and he's performed fantastically well, he's a key asset to the team in our climbing department."

BERNHARD EISEL

Country: Austria

Age: 33

Originally came to the team as British sprinter Mark Cavendish's key wingman and stayed after the Manxman's departure. A winner in his own right at Paris-Bourges in 2008 and Gent-Wevelgem in 2010.

Brailsford: "Bernie's our road captain, he'll be calling the shots. Bernie's absolutely brilliant at not only positioning the guys in the right place but his experience under pressure to make decisions about when people are attacking, do they chase or not, what do they do tactically? He's an absolute superstar in that sense."

VASIL KIRYIENKA

Country: Belarus

Age: 32

Team Sky will rely on his strength and stamina in the flat sections to keep them in position and let their strong climbing squad do their work.

Brailsford: "Kiry has one of the biggest engines in the sport, he can ride on the front for hundreds of kilometres. He's a massive asset to the team, if we need to chase down a break and really work hard as a team, you need guys like Kiry who can be the real engine room of the team."

DAVID LOPEZ

Country: Spain

Age: 33

Joined Sky in 2013 and is another powerful climber who has been an ever-present support throughout Froome's strong season.

Brailsford: "Very good climber, experienced, makes good decisions. He's ridden 12 grand tours and he brings all of that experience. Around mid-mountain, the positioning and looking after the leaders of the team, that's his key role."

DANNY PATE

Country: United States

Age: 35

Making his Tour de France debut with the team, Pate is Kiryienka's ally on the flat stages and helped Porte win the Paris-Nice last year.

Brailsford: "He's a very reliable, consistent performer, just a rock-solid person that you can absolutely rely on."

XABIER ZANDIO

Country: Spain

Age: 37

Zandio will be expected to join Lopez in establishing the team's position and setting the pace midway through climbing sections.

Brailsford: "He's 37 years old but I've never come across somebody who pulls a team together as much as Xabi does. He's quite a quiet guy and yet the influence he has on the team is unbelievable. He's very, very good at the start of stages when it's chaotic."