Michael Barry will get a long-awaited ticket to the Tour de France after he was named among nine starters for Team Sky.
The team’s inaugural Tour will be centered on Bradley Wiggins and Barry will bring his wealth of experience and durability to help in the effort to push Wiggins onto the Tour podium.
Barry, 34, has raced several Giros d’Italia and Vueltas a España throughout his career, but was often the odd-man out during stints with U.S. Postal Service/Discovery Channel and Columbia.
Barry’s strong performance at the recent Giro helped tipped the balance in the Canadian’s favor.
“It’s been a tough final decision as you would expect when there are such talented riders, so many in good form, and excitement around our Tour debut, but we are pleased with the outcome,” said Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford. “The aim is to perform well, make a positive contribution to the Tour and help to get more people enjoying the sport. We want to inspire. And these nine riders will help us to do that.”
Wiggins will be under pressure to improve on his breakthrough fourth-place finish in last year’s Tour while racing with Garmin. Following his controversial, off-season switch to British-backed Sky, all eyes will be on whether the Olympic track champion can repeat his stellar consistency of 2009.
Joining Wiggins and Barry will two more British riders — Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas — as well as Tour stage-winner Simon Gerrans and Serge Pauwels, two former Cervélo riders who were overlooked for last year’s Tour squad.
Another former stage winner, Juan Antonio Flecha, will provide key support in the first week and be able to slip into breakaways.
Also starting will be Thomas Lovkvist and Edvald Boasson Hagen, who will make his much-anticipated Tour debut.
Team Sky for Tour de France
Geraint Thomas (all GBR)
Michael Barry (Can)
Thomas Lovkvist (Swe)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa)
Simon Gerrans (Aus)
Serge Pauwels (Bel)