Bradley Wiggins has signed a four-year deal with Team Sky that will see him ride with the new British squad until the end of 2013. The 29-year-old British rider leaves US squad Garmin-Slipstream after one season.
"It has been an amazing year for me and my performance at the Tour de France has given me the drive to aim even higher," said Wiggins. "I know I can continue to develop and Team Sky is the perfect place to make that happen."
Wiggins finished fourth overall at this year's Tour de France. A veteran of three Tours and four Giro d'Italias, the result marked a transition from a track and time trial specialist to general classification contender. Wiggins move to Sky will increases the likelihood that they will receive an invitation to the 2010 Tour de France from race organizers.
"Brad will be at home at Team Sky. It's the perfect fit and he'll be a marquee rider for us," said Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford. "He is an exceptional athlete and an excellent performer - at a great age. And he'll get better still.
"Brad was a real revelation at this year's Tour de France. He has been hugely successful for British Cycling and his Olympic performances have brought wide recognition."
A two-time winner of the Olympic gold medal in the men's individual pursuit (2004, 2008), Wiggins has raced as a road professional since 2001.
After a false start with the short-lived Linda McCartney team, he spent six seasons with French professional squads: La Française des Jeux (2002-2003), Crédit Agricole (2004-2005) and Cofidis (2006-2007). He joined Team High Road in 2008 and, at the end of that season, agreed to join Garmin-Slipstream.
Wiggins has become the seventh British rider in Team Sky's now 25-man roster. He joins compatriots Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Russell Downing, Peter Kennaugh, Chris Froome and Steve Cummings.
Wiggins' deal with Team Sky brings to an end months of speculation about which team he would ride for in 2010. His performance at the 2009 Tour de France saw his name immediately touted as a possible general classification rider for the British ProTour squad, in spite of the fact that he remained under contract with Garmin-Slipstream.
Wiggins himself had hinted that he would leave Garmin early. In September, he told the BBC, "It's like trying to win the Champions League - you need to be at Manchester United, but I'm playing at Wigan at the moment so I have to make that step up."
In August, Sky Directeur Sportif Scott Sunderland had told Cyclingnews that, "If Bradley is available then of course we're interested; he's British, so yes it's a possibility. If Wiggins himself wants to come then of course it could happen."
In the last few months Garmin fought a drawn out battle for Wiggins to remain with the team for 2010, having signed a two-year contract with the him at the end of 2008.
Garmin today released a statement that read, "Bradley Wiggins will not be racing for Team Garmin-Transitions in 2010. Although we understand his strong desire to be a part of the UK’s first-ever ProTour team, we would have loved to continue with him through 2010. His departure is not the outcome we hoped for. That said, Team Garmin-Transitions has an incredible group of riders assembled for the season. As always, we have worked hard to build a team that will be competitive throughout the year."
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