Chris Froome to open 2019 season at Tour Colombia in February

Chris Froome rides alongside Rigoberto Uran in the amateur Giro de Rigo race in Antioquia, Colombia, Nov. 4 2018. JOAQUIN SARMIENTO/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Froome will begin his 2019 season by riding in the Tour Colombia in February.

The four-time Tour de France winner announced he will compete in the race in the northern region of Antioquia after spending the last week training in the area.

The race takes place from Feb. 12-17 with former Vuelta a Espana winner Ajenadro Valverde likely to challenge Froome for the title.

Froome, 33, won the Giro D'Italia last May but finished third behind Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas at the 2018 Tour de France.

In Colombia he has the chance to follow in the footsteps of another Team Sky rider Egan Bernal, who won the inaugural Tour Colombia in 2018.

Speaking in Spanish in a video released on his Twitter page Froome said:

"I'm very happy to confirm my participation in the Tour Colombia in February, where I will begin my 2019 season."

"Thank you to the Colombian Cycling Federation for the invitation. I will see you soon!"