Cycling: Sky name strong team to back Wiggins Giro bid

British cycling great Bradley Wiggins has labelled the team selected to help him achieve his dream of adding the Giro D'Italia to his Tour de France and Olympic time-trial crowns as as good as the one who helped him to victory in the Grand Boucle last year.

The 32-year-old will be backed up by a strong team including Italian Dario Cataldo - 12th in the past two editions - and Spaniard Rigoberto Uran, who was seventh last year and claimed the young rider's title.

However, Chris Froome is not in the line-up as he focuses his efforts on the Tour de France.

Wiggins - who last year became the first British rider to win cycling's most prestigious race - said that winning the Giro had been a dream of his since he watched the sport as a child.

"Alongside the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix the Giro d'Italia is one of the biggest bike races in the world and one I'd love to win," he said.

"I've watched the Giro since I was a kid and have seen my idols win it, which makes it even more special.

"It has always been a race that I've wanted to ride well in and I just can't wait to get started.

"I believe the Giro team this year is just as strong as the Tour de France team last year and the results prove that everyone is ready to go."

Sky team chief Dave Brailsford, like Wiggins knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his cycling achievements both in the Tour de France and at the Olympics last year, said the team was ideally set up to help their leader achieve his season's objective.

"We've had a good run into the Giro, have a strong squad and the preparation has gone well," he said.

"It's well-documented that the Giro has been a season goal for Bradley. With that in mind we want to get the best performance possible and try to win the race.

"If you work back from there you need support in the mountains and a strong nucleus of the team who can work hard.

"We've got quality climbing support and some really big engines too. There's also the team time-trial to think about and we've got a very strong squad."

Starting in Naples, the first Grand Tour of the season is staged from Saturday May 4 to Sunday May 26 with 21 stages in the contest for the pink winner's jersey.