Team INEOS name youngest Grand Tour line-up for Giro

In the absence of Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, Team INEOS will be led by up-and-coming riders Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov at the Giro d'Italia.

The team's first Grand Tour since Sky's departure sees their youngest line-up for one of cycling's three headline events – the average age of the eight-man team is 25 – head to Italy this week.

Defending champion Froome and Tour de France winner Thomas are skipping the race to prioritise the battle for the yellow jersey, while Egan Bernal was ruled out after breaking his collarbone in training last week.

Geoghegan Hart, 24, and Sivakov, 21, will thus get the opportunity to take on a leading role on the big stage, having only made their Grand Tour bows at last year's Vuelta a Espana.

Sivakov won the Tour of the Alps in April, with Geoghegan Hart taking the second step on the podium ahead of Vincenzo Nibali despite winning two of the five stages.

Eddie Dunbar comes into the team thanks to Bernal's injury and joins Sebastian Henao, Christian Knees, Jhonatan Narvaez, Salvatore Puccio and Ivan Sosa.

Team principal Dave Brailsford said: "Over the last two seasons, we have been bringing together a carefully selected group of young riders who we believe to be the future of our team.

"While very much in the learning and development phase of their careers, we have nevertheless already seen them taking great strides forwards this year with Egan, Pavel and Chris Lawless all winning stage races and Tao, Ivan, Jhonatan, Sebastian and Eddie all riding exceptionally well.

"With this developmental goal in mind, we have chosen to field our youngest ever team for a Grand Tour and it's fitting it should be our first one as Team INEOS."

On Bernal's setback, Brailsford added: "Egan's injury is a real shame as he was to lead the team in a Grand Tour for the first time. However, I'm sure he will be fighting fit come July.

"Eddie will now come into the team for his first Giro and, given his recent performances, it is well deserved."

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