VOTE OF CONFIDENCE FROM SUTTON

Shane Sutton, the British Cycling coach, believes Bradley Wiggins can win races when he switches his focus back to the road next season.

Wiggins declined the chance to be part of Mark Cavendish?s lead-out train at Columbia because he feels that at 28 he can achieve his objectives on the road. He will ride for Garmin-Chipotle in 2009 and Sutton, part of the coaching set-up that helped Wiggins win two gold medals on the track at the Olympics this summer, feels he can win some big races.

?You look at the guy and you think he should be a Classics rider. He can win prologues and time trials, but a guy who can go that quick should be winning some big races,? said Sutton.

?If Brad Wiggins hits you hard with a couple of k to go, it?s going to take some lead-out train to bring him back. I?ve told him ?don?t be frightened to stick your nose out in the wind, hit them late?.

?He?s got to think like a winner on the road. We know he can be a great support rider but he?s gone to a team where he can express himself a bit more. I really think we can get that hidden road talent out of him next year.

?I remember once in the Munich Six-Day there was a pretty tough chase going on and he was right up there. They may even have won the chase, but he came off the track and handed me the bike and said ?I was born to do this? and he was dead right. The guy was born to ride a bike fast.

?He?s given his all to the track programme over the last eight years but now it?s time for him to do something for Brad Wiggins.

?A lot of people talk a lot of nonsense about what he does on the road but he is an amazing bike rider. Some of these people should try being Brad Wiggins for a week and seeing if they can do what he does.

?I really believe he can win some races on the road if he starts thinking the right way. This guy lives bike racing. As a lad he used to run home from school at lunchtime to watch videos of the Tour de France.

?He can tell you the socks LeMond wore when he beat Fignon in the 89 Tour. He?s an encyclopaedia, he?s got a great cycling brain.?

BMC PREMIER CALENDAR TEAM

Swiss bike manufacturer BMC will sponsor a team next season to ride the Premier Calendar, the National Circuit Race Series and the Tour Series criteriums.

Taking over the mantle from the Ciclos Uno team, the new BMC-sponsored squad will feature many of the same names, with the team led by Andy Lyons, an experienced former-GB rider and Tour of the Kingdom winner.

The 12-man team will be formed from riders from the Eastern region and will focus on the development and progression of under 23 riders. The team will be directed by experienced DS, Alan Rosner.

?BMC are proud to be supporting this talented and exciting new team and look forward to seeing the BMC UK Racing Team at the head of the UK peloton in 2009,? said BMC?s UK Brand Manager, Graham Harman.

Provisional 2009 riders:

Andy Lyons

Daniel Kogan

Dean Shannon

Adam Norris

James Jackson

ROULEUR PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION

Rapha?s annual Rouleur photography exhibition returns on November 28. The show will feature the works of eight photographers, covering a diverse range of cycling events on this year?s calendar.

The venue is next door to Condor Cycles on 51 Grays Inn Road, WC1X 8PP. It will be open from 12:00-18:00 weekdays (and 19:30 on Wednesdays) and 12:00-17:00 on Saturdays. The exhibitions runs until December 23.

HALFORDS BEEFED UP FOR 2009

Halfords Bikehut has been strengthened significantly for 2009 with the addition of several new signings.

National champion Rob Hayles will be joined by SIS-Trek?s Ian Wilkinson, Landbouwkrediet?s Ed Clancy and Rapha-Condor?s Rob Partridge.

2009 Halfords Bikehut squad:

Rob Hayles

Ed Clancy

Andy Tennant

Mark McNally

Ian Wilkinson

Rob Partridge

+ one other

Mtb (plus some road)

Ian Bibby

David Fletcher

+one other

Women (mtb and road)

Sharon Laws

Manager

Keith Lambert

See next Thursday?s Cycling Weekly for more details.

COUTTS IN JAPAN

Britain?s Alex Coutts (Giant Asia Racing Team) is in action at the moment at the Tour of Hainan in China.

Coutts is currently lying 80th overall, just 0:55 behind race-leader, Boris Shpilevsky (Russian National Team) with five stages remaining.

FROM THE MAGAZINE THIS WEEK

British Cycling’s Dave Brailsford dismissed the possibility of riders clashing with Heiko Salzwedel when the German coach returns in the new year. “We’ve moved on since then and he’s ideally suited to British Cycling as it stands now,” said Brailsford. Salzwedel is known for his strong views and left after falling out with riders five years ago.

Meanwhile, Brailsford confirmed that Roger Legeay the former manager of the Crédit Agricole team will work as an advisor as British Cycling puts its pro team in place ready for launch in 2010. “Roger’s the Continental-based directeur sportif who’s worked the most with English-speaking riders in the past,” said Brailsford.

Emma Pooley is aiming to peak for the summer stage races with her new Cervélo team. The 26-year-old Olympic Games time trial silver medalist will have finished working full-time on her Ph.D in January, allowing her to start training for an assault on the stage races rather than the early season World Cups.

French legend Raymond Poulidor told the audience at the Dave Rayner Fund dinner that it will take five or six years before a British team is good enough to hold its own at the Tour de France. We’ll see, Raymond, we’ll see.

Meanwhile Barry Hoban reckons Mark Cavendish will have broken his British record of eight Tour de France stage wins within a couple of years.

And whoever paid £510 for one of Cavendish’s signed Team Columbia jerseys at the Rayner dinner got themselves a bargain.