LOS ANGELES, May 05, 2014 (AFP) – Former Tour de France winner Bradley
Wiggins will lead the Sky team in the Tour of California that starts on Sunday
in Sacramento, organizers said Monday.
Britain’s Wiggins was among the field of 128 cyclists announced for the
eight-day, 720-mile (1,159 km) race that will conclude on May 18 in Thousand
Oaks, west of Los Angeles.
Joining Wiggins are Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Mark Cavendish of Britain and
Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, the Slovakian who holds the record for the most
California stage victories at 10.
Wiggins’s star has dimmed somewhat since his outstanding year in 2012, when
he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and followed it up with a
time-trial gold at his home Olympics in London.
He suffered a disastrous 2013 when he pulled out of the Giro d’Italia due
to illness and then missed defending his Tour title with an injury.
He also had to watch as Chris Froome succeeded him as Tour champion and
firmly established himself as the Team Sky leader.
After finishing ninth at Paris-Roubaix last month, Wiggins vowed to earn
his place on the Sky team to support reigning Tour de France champion Froome
in the Tour de France in July.
Sunday’s 193-km opening stage that starts in finishes in the California
state capital of Sacramento is followed by a 20-kilometer time trial in Folsom
on Monday and Tuesday’s third stage takes the riders 174.5 km from San Jose to
the summit of Mount Diablo.