Sir Bradley Wiggins to start Classics campaign at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

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Sir Bradley Wiggins to start Classics campaign at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Defending champion Ian Stannard also in line-up for Belgian semi-Classic

Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) will kick off his 2015 Classics campaign at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday alongside defending champion Ian Stannard.

Since finishing the Tour of Qatar, where he placed third in the individual time trial on stage three, Wiggins has been able to recon the key cobbled climbs in the area with team-mates Stannard and Luke Rowe.

Sir Bradley Wiggins will start his Classics campaign at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Pic: Sirotti)

And the three Brits will be joined by Andy Fenn, who signed from Etixx-QuickStep in the winter with the Classics firmly on his agenda, in a strong Team Sky line-up for the race.

Bernie Eisel, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio and Chris Sutton complete the squad as Sky bid for a third victory in the Belgian semi-Classic, following Stannard’s win last year and Juan Antonio Flecha’s 2010 triumph.

Last time out, Stannard beat Greg van Avermaet in a two-up sprint to ensure Sky kicked off the spring campaign in winning style but the 27-year-old later crashed out of Gent-Wevelgem with a fractured vertebrae.

Servais Knaven, who will serve as directeur sportif for both the Omloop and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the following day, said: “After a good training period over the winter we have a strong group heading into the classics. We’re excited to get started with this key phase of the season.

“As we all know, anything can happen during Saturday’s race, so we will sit down on Saturday night and assess how things have gone before confirming our line-up for Kuurne.”

Ian Stannard won at the Omloop last year (Pic: Sirotti)

Team Sky have also achieved success at Kuurne in the past, with Chris Sutton (2011) and Mark Cavendish (2012) among the past winners.

Sprinter Elia Viviani, who opened his Team Sky account with a stage win at the Dubai Tour, has travelled with the team to Flanders and is expected to line-up for the race on Sunday.

Team Sky line-up for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2015

Sir Bradley Wiggins (GBR)
Ian Stannard (GBR)
Luke Rowe (GBR)
Andy Fenn (GBR)
Bernie Eisel (AUT)
Christian Knees (GER)
Salvatore Puccio (ITA)
Chris Sutton (AUS)

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