(Reuters) - Britain’s Chris Froome will lead Team Sky at next month’s Giro d’Italia as he aims to secure his first title in the gruelling road race while under investigation over an adverse doping test result at last year’s Vuelta a Espana.
The 32-year-old will be joined in Team Sky’s lineup by Spain’s David de la Cruz, France’s Kenny Elissonde, Colombian Sergio Henao, three-time Giro stage winner Vasil Kiryienka, German Christian Knees, Dutchman Wout Poels and Italy’s Salvatore Puccio.
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome is fighting to clear his name after an adverse analytical finding at the Vuelta revealed him to have double the permitted limit of the asthma medication Salbutamol in his system.
He has denied any wrongdoing and is free to race as he is not suspended.
Froome, who has not ridden in the Giro since 2010, said he was trying to focus on the race while continuing to resolve the investigation into his adverse finding.
“Of course there is an element of risk involved in targeting the Giro before the Tour, but I think I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t give this race a go,” he said in a statement.
“I also recognise the wider issues and as I have said before I am doing everything I can, together with the team, to help resolve them as quickly as possible.
“I would love to win the maglia rosa, but I am under no illusions whatsoever about how hard the race will be.”
Froome is aiming to become the first rider since Italian Marco Pantani in 1998 to complete the Giro/Tour double.
The three-week 3,546km Giro begins in Jerusalem on May 4. The Tour de France starts two months later.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru