• ‘There was only one team I was going to come home for’• ‘He will get better still,’ says director Dave Brailsford
Bradley Wiggins has signed a four-year deal to race with the new British professional squad Team Sky from 2010, it was confirmed this morning at a central London press conference attended by the triple Olympic champion and the team principal, Dave Brailsford. He is the 25th rider to sign for the team.
The 30-year-old finished fourth in this year’s Tour de France, equalling the best British finish and will make a full-throttle assault on the overall standings next July backed by up-and-coming riders such as Edvald Boasson-Hagen of Norway, Geraint Thomas of Great Britain, and Thomas Lovkvist of Sweden.
“It was always a difficult situation trying to leave Garmin because I had a lot of friends there,” Wiggins said. “There was only one team I was going to come home for and that was Sky and Dave Brailsford who helped me to my Olympic success. We want to be the best we can possibly be for whatever the goal is and next year that’s the Tour de France.
“This team wants to be the biggest and best and most admired in the world, and to be there from the start is something special. It’s a bit of a strange day, it has been going on for a long while since I finished fourth in the Tour de France,” Wiggins added.
“He is an exceptional athlete, a great performer at a great age,” said Brailsford. “And he will get better still. At Team Sky he can continue to develop, surrounded by some of the coaches and performance experts who have worked with him for years as part of the British Cycling set-up. With his experience he will help us to develop our young talents too.”
“Brad was a real revelation at this year’s Tour de France, has been hugely successful for British Cycling and his Olympic success has brought wide recognition. His presence will help us not only on the road but with the wider aims of inspiring people to not only follow the team but to get out and ride.”
Wiggins’s name has been linked to Sky from the moment that Brailsford confirmed in late February that he was setting up the new team to race in 2010. In September the Briton stated that riding for the team would be like playing football for Manchester United, but ironing out the details of the deal that took him to Britain’s flagship squad has been a lengthy process as Wiggins was contracted to race for his Garmin team for 2010, and they were clearly keen to retain his services. Garmin confirmed yesterday morning that he is to leave their squad.
Wiggins is Team Sky’s seventh British rider, following on from Thomas, Ian Stannard, Russell Downing, Peter Kennaugh, Chris Froome and Steve Cummings.
Copyright © 2009 Guardian News & Media Limited 2009