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The Spaniard will ride the Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Coppi e Bartali, Tour of the Basque Country, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphiné in build-up to the Tour de France

Photo: Sirotti

MIKEL NIEVE

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17.12.2013 @ 17:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mikel Nieve is preparing himself for a new role at Team Sky where he will swap his usual leadership with a domestique job. In his first year at the mighty British team, he has been selected to do the Tour de France and follow a program that is likely to see him ride a lot in support of Chris Froome.

 

Things will change for Mikel Nieve in 2014. When he turned pro with Euskaltel in 2009, it didn't take long time for the young Basque to earn himself a leadership role at his home team and top 10 finishes in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana as well as wins on the queen stages in both races have made him a protected rider for most of the grand tours he has done.

 

With the demise of Euskaltel, Nieve will, however, swap the orange of Euskaltel for the blue of Sky in 2014. With the change comes a new role as Nieve is now expected to ride in support of some of the major stars that ride for the British team.

 

Recently, Nieve attended the team's first training camp and got the chance to discuss his race schedule with his new team. Based on the outline of his season, it is clear that the team has huge confidence in their Basque climber who will be riding alongside the team's major star in some of the biggest races in the world.

 

Despite having a preference for the Giro and thee Vuelta and only having one Tour de France on his palmares, Nieve has been selected for the world's biggest race in his first year and will play a crucial support role for Chris Froome in the mountains. This year the British team was surprisingly vulnerable in the hardest stages and the signing of Nieve is an evident attempt to reinforce the support crew for the coming season.

 

Froome still hasn't announced his race schedule for the coming season but Nieve is likely to ride a lot with his captain in the early part of the season to familiarize himself with the team's riding style. He will kick off his season in the Tour of Oman which is likely to be Froome's season opener as well after the Brit won the race in 2013.

 

Nieve's first European race will be the Tirreno-Adriatico where he is again likely to be joined by Froome as the Brit will be keen to make amends for this year's disappointing 2nd place behind Vincenzo Nibali. Next he will do the Coppi e Bartali race where he will ride in support of Richie Porte who will use the race to prepare for the Giro d'Italia.

 

Despite being a Basque, Nieve has only done the Vuelta al Pais Vasco once but the 2014 season will offer him the chance to return to his home race. This may even give him a chance to chase some personal success as Froome didn't do the race this year and it is not on Porte's schedule either.

 

His final two races prior to the Tour will be the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphiné where Froome is again the defending champion. Those two races are likely to allow Nieve and Froome to fine-tune their cooperation prior to the big battle on the French roads in July.

 

Nieve's participations in the Tour of Oman, the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Coppi e Bartali will all mark his debut at the races.

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