Sir Bradley Wiggins is to launch a new professional cycling team this year ahead of preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Wiggins, who would become the most decorated British athlete in Olympic history if he clinches an eighth medal in Rio de Janeiro next year, is keen to give something back to the sport and wants to use his success to encourage a healthy cycling culture within the UK.
“Cycling has given me everything,” he said yesterday. “Now I want to build something to inspire kids and to reach all those people who might be on the fringes of the sport. My message is: If I can do it, then so can you.”
The new team – named ‘Wiggins’ – will be sponsored by the 34-year-old’s long-time supporter Sky and is fully endorsed by UK governing body, British Cycling.
It will feature a dynamic stable of young British talent including Andy Tennant, Owain Doull, Mark Christian, Jon Dibben, Steven Burke, Daniel Patten, Mike Thompson and Iain Paton.
Details for the team’s bike and resource suppliers, colours, logo and team jersey will be unveiled in Spring, along with the team’s calendar of UK track and road events – including Wiggins’s live televised attempt on the prestigious ‘Hour Record’ – riding as far as possible in 60 minutes in a velodrome – in the summer.
“I’ve dreamt about the Hour Record since I was a boy,” the four-time Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner said.
“Anyone can have a crack at it and measure themselves against the best in the world. We’ve seen cycling grow over the last few years and I want ‘Wiggins’ to inspire a new generation.”
The move to create a new British team has been welcomed by leading lights including Team Sky general manager Sir Dave Brailsford and Britain’s most decorated female Olympian Victoria Pendleton.