The six-man lineup is made up of riders coming off successful campaigns at both the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour of Britain. Chris Froome will take the start one week after clinching a historic Tour-Vuelta double, and will be joined by Italian national time trial champion Gianni Moscon, who supported him on the way to Madrid.
Owain Doull, Polish TT champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Geraint Thomas all secured top-10 finishes in Britain, and line up alongside former individual time trial world champion Vasil Kiryienka.
Team Sky will be looking to improve on a best result of third place since the re-introduction of the event. Sport Director Brett Lancaster was also racing on that day for a rival team in Florence 2013, and feels the team has all the ingredients for a strong outing this season.
“The plan is to go for the win,” he confirmed. “It’s a very strong lineup and fresh off the Vuelta win the guys are going to be really motivated. Plus if you look at the guys who rode the Tour of Britain last week they are riding strongly too. You can never just turn up and win though – everything has to go well and everything has to be on song.
“The course is very rolling and there’s a climb that finishes with around 10 or 12 kilometres to go. It’s quite steep and I think with the team we’re taking and the likes of Froomey, Moscon – all the guys to be honest – that suits us. It looks like it’s going to be dry on Sunday which is a bonus as it does rain a lot in Bergen. That will take the technical side out of it I think. We’ve seen a video of the course but I’m heading out early to check it out and see what it’s all about.
“Last year we went in hoping to give the podium a crack but this year we’re definitely targeting the win. But it’s definitely not going to be easy. A lot of other teams put aside a lot of guys who have been preparing solely for this race, and they have the time and the numbers to do this. Our resources are a bit different with the way we race as a team. There’s always stiff competition and it’s going to be close as a lot of teams are dialled in these days.”