Bradley Wiggins to ride Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Team Sky announce line-up for opening cobbled Classic

Bradley Wiggins will ride Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday to kick off his cobbled Classics campaign ahead of his tilt at Paris-Roubaix in April.

The 2012 Tour de France champion, enjoying his final few months with Team Sky before he joins his new WIGGINS outfit, will head up a eight-man team at the 70th edition of the race, which takes place across 200.2km in the Flanders region of Belgium.

Also in the line-up is Ian Stannard, who won last year’s race after out-sprinting Greg Van Avermaet in miserable conditions. That success seemed like a potentially seminal moment in the 27-year-old’s career but it was followed by setbacks as he fractured a vertebra in Gent-Wevelgem less than a month later, before fracturing his wrist on his return to racing at the Tour of Britain.

Like Wiggins and other Classics hopefuls, he rode at the Tour of Qatar and eased himself back into racing with an encouraging fourth place on the overall. Both men have used the time since Qatar to travel to Flanders and familiarise themselves with some of the key cobbled sections and climbs.

Sky’s roster is completed by Luke Rowe, Bernhard Eisel, Andy Fenn, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio and Chris Sutton. The team will take stock after the race before deciding on a line-up for Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne the next day.

"After a good training period over the winter we have a strong group heading into the Classics," said the team's sports director for the race, Servais Knaven. "We're excited to get started with this key phase of the season."

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