Poels leads Sky in Andalucia, Thomas and Kwiatkowski in Algarve

Wout Poels, fresh from his victory in Valencia last week, will lead the team in Andalucía, while Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatkowski will jointly lead the team in the Algarve.

Thomas returns to defend his title alongside Kwiatkowski, who finished runner-up to the Welshman last year riding for Etixx – Quick-Step, and won the race himself in 2014.

Sport Director Gabriel Rasch said: “We have had a great start to the season and that has spread confidence throughout the group. We have selected strong teams for both races but we are taking nothing for granted. These are both tough races with tough competition. They will help give us another indication of where we are at as we approach the Classics.”

Poels told TeamSky.com: “This is my first time racing Ruta del Sol and I am really looking forward to it. Froomey won this race last year so there are big shoes for me to fill. But I am pleased with my own form, the team is full of confidence, and we will be doing everything we can to keep our momentum going.”

Thomas added: “Algarve is a race I always look forward to. It will be my first race in Europe this season. Australia went well for me and I am looking forward to testing myself on what looks like a pretty tough course.”

Kwiatkowski, who will be making his Team Sky stage race debut in Portugal, said: “It was good to start racing with my new teammates in Majorca. It’s early days in the season but morale is high and there is a real buzz in the camp. This is a race that has always suited me and I want to help build on the team’s good start to the season.”

Team Sky line-ups:

Ruta del Sol: Benat Intxausti, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Gianni Moscon, Mikel Nieve, Wout Poels, Ben Swift.

Volta ao Algarve: Michal Golas, Sebastian Henao, Michal Kwiatkowski, David Lopez, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Salvatore Puccio, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas.