Chris Froome will begin his 2018 season for Team Sky at the Ruta del Sol five-day stage race in Andalucia later this month.

The Team Sky rider claimed overall victory in the general classification and a stage win in his last appearance in the event in 2015 but will hope to impress on his return to competitive cycling, from February 14-18.

Froome, who won a fourth Tour de France title and Vuelta a Espana title last year, has denied wrongdoing and not been suspended over an adverse result after a urine test following Stage 18 of the Vuelta showed twice the permitted level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol.

The 32-year-old, who has spent the early part of the year training in South Africa, is excited about making his campaign bow in Spain.

I have put in a hard training block in January, said Froome. It’s been good to be out on my bike and to get the miles under my belt.

It’s been a couple of years now since I was last at Ruta del Sol. It’s a race I’ve enjoyed in the past and so I’m looking forward to going back there.

Froome and Team Sky have been providing information to the UCI regarding the cyclist’s use of asthma medication during the Vuelta, with the process ongoing.

I’m confident that we will be able to get to the bottom of what has happened and I’m working hard with the team to do that, Froome added.

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: We all recognise that these are difficult circumstances but it’s important for all sides that this process is conducted fairly before a final conclusion is reached.

It is a complex situation but we’re working as hard as we can with Chris to resolve things as soon as possible.

(c) Sky News 2018: Chris Froome to line up at Ruta del Sol for season debut