Bradley Wiggins has been confirmed as Team Sky’s leader for the Tour of Britain.
Wiggins has endured a difficult season to date, abandoning the Giro d’Italia and missing his Tour de France title defence due to injury.
But the 33-year-old returned to racing at the Tour of Poland, where he won the final stage, and will use the eight-stage Tour of Britain to fine-tune his preparations for the UCI World Time Trial Championships.
“I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain; it’s a race I’m fond of and it’s nice to see it growing in stature each year,” said the 2012 Tour de France champion.
“The crowds and the roads make it special and it’s always very humbling to see the fantastic support that we get from the public.
“I’m coming into the race feeling really good. It finishes in close proximity to the world time trial championships which is my main late-season goal.”
Wiggins will be supported by a strong line-up which includes Britons Ian Stannard and Josh Edmondson. Stannard helped Chris Froome to Tour de France victory in July, while Edmondson’s impressive performance in the 2012 Tour of Britain earned him a contract with Team Sky.
Bernhard Eisel, David Lopez and Mathew Hayman, who will join Orica-GreenEDGE for the 2014 season, complete the six-rider squad.
Stannard said: “The Tour of Britain has become a massive event in the cycling calendar and I’m really excited to be racing at home.
“There’s a real enthusiasm for cycling at the moment – especially following Brad and Froomey’s Tour wins and the Olympics – so I’m really looking forward to competing again on British roads.
“We race all over the world but it’s always nice to compete in front of your home fans. With such a high-level race in the UK naturally I want to be there.”
The Tour of Britain starts on September 15 and race director is relishing the prospect of seeing Wiggins ride the stage three time trial, which will pitch the Team Sky rider against three-time British champion and former team-mate Alex Dowsett, who is now riding for Movistar.
“We are very pleased to welcome Sir Bradley Wiggins back to the Tour of Britain alongside what looks to be a very strong Sky line-up,” said Bennett.
“Both Ian Stannard and Josh Edmondson have performed strongly in the race before, while I, like many others, look forward to seeing Sir Bradley in action in the 10-mile Knowsley individual time trial.”
Team Sky squad for the Tour of Britain