Chris Froome to lead Team Sky at Criterium du Dauphine

Chris Froome

Chris Froome will lead Team Sky at the Criterium du Dauphine as the British team attempt to win the Tour de France warm-up race for a third straight year.

Fellow Briton and Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins won the last two editions.

But Wiggins, who went on to become the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012, has been forced to pull out of both the week-long Dauphine, which starts on 2 June, and the Tour.

Spaniards Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez will be Froome's main rivals.

Froome, who finished second at last year's Tour de France after helping Wiggins to victory, has been in good form this season, winning the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and Tour de Romandie stage races.

"I'm feeling really good," the Kenya-born Briton said. "I came off a good block of training up in Tenerife with the guys and I've had about a week at home now. It's been nice to sleep in my own bed for a little while.

"Having said that, I'm starting to feel ready, I feel like the form is definitely on its way up and everything is heading in the right direction for the Dauphine."

The 28-year-old has also been confirmed as Team Sky's leader, barring injury or illness, for the Tour de France - the second of the year's three Grand Tours - which is celebrating its 100th edition.

As a result of the chest infection and knee problem that forced him out of the Giro d'Italia earlier this month, Wiggins will not defend the Dauphine titles he won in 2011 and 2012, and will also miss the chance to win the Tour de France for a second successive year.

The eight-stage Dauphine race features several mountain climbs, including an ascent of the legendary Alpe d'Huez on the penultimate day's racing.

Team Sky are entering an eight-strong team with British trio Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Peter Kennaugh, Australia's Richie Porte, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway, Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus and Spain's David Lopez in the squad.

The 2013 Tour de France starts on Saturday, 29 June and the BBC Sport website will have live text commentary of each stage, with BBC Radio 5 live providing live commentary.

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