Team Sky have named a strong squad packed with climbing talent to bolster Sir Bradley Wiggins' bid for overall victory at next month's Giro d'Italia.
Wiggins has built his 2013 campaign around the Giro, which takes place from May 4 to May 26, and is hoping to add the winner's pink jersey to the yellow jersey he won at the Tour de France last summer.
The race starts in Naples and ends in Brescia, northern Italy, and is expected to be hotly contested, with reigning champion Ryder Hesjedal and home favourite Vincenzo Nibali set to rival Wiggins for victory.
The Briton is part of a nine-man Sky line-up that also includes Colombian climbing duo Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao, Italians Dario Cataldo and Salvatore Puccio, Germany's Christian Knees, Belarusian Kanstantsin Siutsou, American Danny Pate and Spaniard Xabier Zandio.
Wiggins told teamsky.com: "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 would love to win.
'Ready to go'
"I have 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 have 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."
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said the squad had been built based on climbing ability and work-rate.
"It is well-documented that the Giro has been a season goal for Bradley," he explained. "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 have got quality climbing support and some really big engines, too. There is also the team time trial to think about and we have got a very strong squad."
Brailsford added that the team's preparations for the Giro have gone according to plan.
He added: "We have had a good run into the Giro, have a strong squad and the preparation has gone well. The final touches have been put in place after the Giro del Trentino and we are all set to go."