The Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper has suggested that Bradley Wiggins could ride this year's Giro d'Italia. However Team Sky has moved quickly to deny the idea, insisting that Wiggins is scheduled to ride the Amgen Tour of California in May. Wiggins also rubbished the story in Gazzetta dello Sport, saying he would not ride this year's Giro d'Italia.
With 30 days to go until the Grande Partenza of the Giro d'Italia in Belfast, Gazzetta dello Sport claimed there are five good reasons why Wiggins could ride the Giro and hinted that Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni is work on a deal that would see Wiggins line-up in Belfast on May 9 for the opening team time trial stage.
Earlier this week, Team Sky confirmed that Richie Porte would not ride the Giro d'Italia and with Sergio Henao out of action due to the ongoing investigation into his unusual out of competition blood values, Team Sky lacks a big-name leader for the Giro d'Italia.
The Italian sports newspaper, that is owned by the same company that also owns the Giro d'Italia, predicted that Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) will fight for overall victory in this year's Corsa Rosa but suggested that Wiggins could target the time trial stages and work on his form for the Tour de France, without the pressure of being a true overall contender.
Team Sky was surprised by the speculative piece in Gazzetta dello Sport. They refused to make any official comment but insisted that Wiggins' race schedule still includes the Amgen Tour of California.
Wiggins also flatly denied that he will ride the Giro d'Italia as he lined up for the Scheldeprijs race in Belgium.
"I'm not doing the Giro," he told media, including Cyclingnews.
Asked if he wants to go back to the Giro, Wiggins said: "Not this year."
Wiggins rode the 2013 Giro d'Italia but retired before stage 13 due to a knee injury that also stopped him from riding the Tour de France. He lost time on several rain-hit stages of the Giro d'Italia and never lived up to the billing of major rival to eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali.
Wiggins has set the Amgen Tour of California as a key goal for after targeting Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.
Team Sky is sponsored by 21st Century Fox -the US arm of News Corporation Wiggins told the Guardian newspaper that he wants to help fill the void left by Lance Armstrong.
"Cycling is huge there and there is a huge void there. People in the US are keen on cycling but have been robbed a little bit with what's gone on. Then we will see where the future goes. As a Tour winner with credibility, with no skeletons in your closet, people look up to you and want to get on their bikes because of what you achieved one summer," the Guardian reported Wiggins as saying.
"That is quite rare, especially within cycling – there are not many of us Tour winners that haven't got a history, three or four, part of a very small club, and it's our responsibility to preach that to the world."