(Reuters) – Chris Froome will lead Team Sky at the Tour of the Alps this month as he steps up preparations for the Tour de France, organisers said on Wednesday.
The four-times Tour de France winner has not raced since last month’s Tour of Catalunya, where he finished 94th after crashing in the second stage.
The Tour of the Alps will be Team Sky’s last stage race with their current sponsor, with the powerhouse cycling team to be taken over by chemicals multinational INEOS, owned by Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe, from May 1.
Froome will be joined by 2014 Tour de France champion and Bahrain-Merida rider Vincenzo Nibali for the five-day Tour of the Alps, which will be held from April 22-26.
“Nibali and Froome are the Tour of the Alps’ top favourites as both achieved plenty of historical Grand Tour wins,” the race’s general manager Maurizio Evangelista said.
The Tour de France begins in Brussels on July 6.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)