Team Sky has confirmed that Bradley Wiggins will lead Team Sky at the Tour of California, with US riders Danny Pate, Ian Boswell and Joe Dombrowski also in the squad. Completing the Team Sky line-up are Nathan Earle, Josh Edmondson, Christian Knees and Luke Rowe.
This year's Tour of California begins in Sacramento on May 11 and ends in Thousand Oaks on May 18. Stage three to Mount Diablo State Park and stage six to Mountain High are expected to decide the race, with the stage two time trial to Folsom also important.
Wiggins rode the Giro d'Italia in 2013 but crashed in the rain and quit the race with a knee injury that lead team management not selecting him for the Tour de France. With Tour de France leadership no longer an objective, the British rider has looked for other goals and the Tour of California has become important for the team after the arrival of 21st Century Fox as a key sponsor.
Wiggins showed his form and all-round ability by taking ninth place in Paris-Roubaix against the cobbled Classics specialists. He then tested his stage race form and worked to lower his weight with several strong rides at last week's Giro del Trentino.
2014 marks the second time Team Sky has competed in the Tour of California, with both Ben Swift and Greg Henderson winning stages and holding the race lead in 2011.
Wiggins hinted that he may not be able to win the overall classification but said on the Team Sky website that he was enthusiastic to be heading to California for the week-long stage race.
“I’m really looking forward to riding the Tour of California. It's an important event for the team and we want to put in a good performance in front of the American fans and our co-owners 21st Century Fox."
“Riding in California is definitely something different and a nice alternative to the traditional racing programme in Europe. There are a lot of passionate cycling fans in the States and this is one of the only chances we get to ride in front of them, on their roads. We’re all looking forward to it.”
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