Geoghegan Hart and Poels to co-lead Ineos charge in Vuelta

In this file photo taken on Sept. 26, 2018, Britain's Tao Geoghegan Hart during the men's elite individual time trial at UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria. — Reuters

NEW YORK — Tao Geoghegan Hart and Wout Poels will be co-leaders for Team Ineos at the Vuelta a Espana which starts on Saturday, with Tour de France winner Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas sitting the three-week race out, the team announced on Tuesday.

Ineos has already confirmed that Bernal and Thomas would prepare for next month's road world championships in Yorkshire rather than travel to Spain.

With Chris Froome still on the sidelines with a long-term injury, British youngster Geoghegan Hart will have an opportunity to impress alongside an experienced campaigner in Poels, who has 13 Grand Tours to his name.

Grand Tour debutant Owain Doull, Kenny Elissonde, Sebastian Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Salvatore Puccio and Ian Stannard complete the lineup for the 21-stage race which begins in Torrevieja.

"I believe we have a really talented blend of youth and experience in this Team," Ineos sports director Nicolas Portal said.

"The opportunity for Tao to learn from Wout as they lead our Team is a special one, and we have faith that both of them can leave their mark on this Vuelta.

"We are also delighted for Owain, who is riding his first Grand Tour for the Team. He's been building up to this moment and it's a great opportunity for him to ride alongside the likes of Ian and Vasil over the next three weeks as he takes the next step in his career." — Reuters