Three-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins will compete in this year's Tour of Britain, race organisers have announced. Wiggins, who finished fourth in this year's Tour de France, will lead his Garmin Slipstream team in the eight-stage race next month where they will also come up against teams from Cervelo, Euskatel and Vacance Soleil Procycling whose participation in the race was also announced today.
The news that Wiggins will be riding is sure to spark a lot of interest in the race on the back of his performance at this year's Tour de France and his Olympic achievements – which may rank higher with non-cycling members of the public.
Wiggins leads a Garmin squad comprising:
David Millar won't be there though, nor Christian Vande Velde - possibly just to save on confusion at team meetings with his Dutch nearly namesake Ricardo.
The Cervelo Test Team are also fielding some Brits in their line-up for the race with Roger Hammond and Jeremy Hunt joined by youngster Dan Fleeman, the promising young Irish rider Philip Deignan will also be part of their line-up
Like Cervelo the Basque team Euskaltel Euskadi will be riding the Tour of Britain for the first time, famed mainly as a team for the mountains it will be interesting to see how they get on with the shorter steeper climbs that the Tour of Britain route has in store. Their two main men: current world champion Samuel Sanchez and climber Egoi Martinez will not be taking part, and even if his B sample permits nor will Mikel Astarloza.
The Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team may not be one of the better known teams taking part in this year's race, but the do contain one of the biggest stars taking part, 2003 Tour de France green jersey winner, Baden Cooke.
in another announcement Highland Spring will sponsor the 2009 event and the Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride. Under the deal, Highland Spring's logo will feature on the Tour of Britain starting and finishing boards, its official website and campaign material, while teams, support crews and volunteers will be supplied with Highland Spring water during the tour, along with participants of the Prostate Cancer Charity Tour will also be supplied with Highland Spring water.
Highland Spring is already the exclusive beverage sponsor to Olympic gold medal cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and supplies water to many cycling events across the UK, and became the official water sponsor for the Glasgow and Leicester Skyride events.
The race starts in Scunthorpe on September 12 and finishes on Whitehall, London, on September 19 and includes 16 elite professional teams, including AG2R La Mondiale, Agritubel, Barloworld, CandiTV – Marshalls Pasta, Team Columbia – HTC, CSF Navigare Team, Halfords Bikehut, Rapha – Condor, Topsport Vlaanderen.
Mick Bennett, Technical Director for The Tour of Britain, has said that the field will be “the best and strongest set of teams ever to take part in the Tour of Britain”
The Tour of Britain is an elite international cycle race and has been given 2.1 status by cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, as such it has been able to attract former World and Olympic champions and Tour de France stage winners and yellow jersey wearers It can now add Wiggins' name to the list.