Wiggins to ride Tour of Britain after all, but Cavendish likely to miss race
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wiggins to ride Tour of Britain after all, but Cavendish likely to miss race

by Conal Andrews at 7:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Britain

Mark Cavendish remains highly unlikely to take part but home supporters could well be able to cheer Bradley Wiggins on during this year’s Tour of Britain. The Tour de France contender has reversed a decision yesterday not to ride the British event due to the lack of a time trial.

"Had a good chat with [the Great Britain coach] Shane Sutton last night, looks like I will ride TOB [Tour of Britain] now'," Wiggins said this morning on his Twitter account.

It was a 180-degree turnabout from his initial reaction yesterday: "No TT [time trial] again in race around Britain, looks like a race for the sprinter again. Looks like Vuelta [a España] this year then."

Last year’s event was dominated by Edvald Boasson Hagen, who sprinted to win four stages en route to the general classification victory. Race director Mick Bennett denied Wiggins’ claim that the 2010 edition would favour the sprinters, underlining that this year’s would be a far harder event.

“We’ve got eight first-category climbs,” he told the Guardian, before explaining why there would be no race against the clock.

"We'd love Brad to ride. But we can't design a race with a time trial in it, mainly because of the volume of cars on our roads." He said that it would require an extended shutdown of the roads, whereas the usual road race stages have rolling road closures.

Wiggins competed in last year’s Tour of Britain but withdrew from the race after four stages in order to prepare for the world road race championships time trial. He had enjoyed huge crowd support thanks to his fourth place in the Tour de France.

If he rides strongly again in the Tour, there is likely to be even more attention paid to him. Media interest is expected to be at an all-time high this year, particularly as Wiggins is leading the first-ever British ProTour squad, Team Sky.

Mark Cavendish would also be a massive draw for the crowds. He has won ten Tour stages in two years, and marked himself out as the best sprinter in cycling when on form. However his big priority for the end of the season is the world road race championships, and he is virtually certain to opt for the Vuelta a España as the best preparation for that.

A spokesperson for his Columbia HTC team said yesterday that he was ‘unlikely’ to compete in the Tour of Britain. He last raced there in 2007, winning the prologue and first road stage. He then opted for the Tour of Missouri in 2008 and 2009, but is virtually certain to head to the Spanish Grand Tour this time round.

The 2010 Tour of Britain will begin in Rochdale on September 11th and concludes in Blackpool. The following six stages will finish in Stoke on Trent, Swansea, Teignmouth, Glastonbury, Great Yarmouth and Colchester. The final leg will be held in Newham in London, the location for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


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