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Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
Swift, Eisel and Henao also in six-rider squad for home Tour
Wiggins will have the support of Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Bernhard Eisel, David Lopez and Sebastian Henao for the weeklong race that begins on Sunday September 7 with a circuit stage in Liverpool. The race ends in London on Sunday September 14 after some testing stages in Wales and the South West. The final day of racing includes an 8.8km time trial and a final circuit race in central London. The time trial could be vital to Wiggins' hopes of a second victory.
Last year Wiggins won the 16km time trial mid-race and then defended the yellow jersey, beating Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) and fellow Briton Simon Yates, who rode for Great Britain before his successful professional debut with Orica-GreenEdge.
“The Tour of Britain is a special race for me so to be returning as defending champion is a real honour. It’s always been a tough race but the support we receive from the fans is incredible, and it’s our home Tour so I’ve always enjoyed racing it," Wiggins said in a statement from Team Sky.
“From the start of the year it’s always been a goal of mine to race to the Tour of Britain. The race is growing in stature year on year and it’s our chance to go there with a strong team and race in front of home fans to thank them for their support over the season."
After missing the Tour de France to ride on the track at the Commonwealth Games, Wiggins has been preparing for the time trial event at the World Road Race championships at the end of September in Ponferrada, Spain.
The Tour of Britain will also see Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) clash in the sprints, while Nicolas Roche will lead the Tinkoff-Saxo team. Alex Dowsett is expected to captain the Movistar team, while Lars Boom leads Belkin and Sylvain Chavanel will be the protected rider for IAM Cycling.