Bradley Wiggins: Tour of California is a ‘major target’

Bradley Wiggins says he's looking forward to racing in America and putting in a good performance

Bradley Wiggins has said that he’s looking forward to putting in ‘good performance’ when he lead’s Team Sky at the Tour of California next week (May 11-18).

The American stage race has been outlined as one of Wiggins’s major targets for 2014, the first being Paris-Roubaix in April where he placed ninth. He then put in a solid performance on the final mountains stage of the Giro del Trentino in April, where he placed 11th and ended the race in 19th place overall.

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“I’m really looking forward to riding the Tour of California,” said Wiggins. “It’s an important event for the team and we want to put in a good performance in front of the American fans and our co-owners 21st Century Fox.”

“Riding in California is definitely something different and a nice alternative to the traditional racing programme in Europe. There are a lot of passionate cycling fans in the States and this is one of the only chances we get to ride in front of them, on their roads. We’re all looking forward to it.”

With a 20 kilometre time trial and a couple of mountain stages, the Tour of California looks to play to Wiggins’s strengths and a podium place, if not a win, is a solid possibility for the 2012 Tour de France winner. Wiggins has made no secret that he wants to line up alongside Chris Froome at the Tour de France when it starts on Yorkshire on July 5 – a good show in America will strengthen his selection chances.

An appearance and good ride in California will also help Wiggins’s profile in America. Wiggins signed up to the management company that represents David Beckham and Lewis Hamilton last year, and it stated that it was going to “take advantage of the growth in global cycling participation and Wiggins’ own unique position as one of the sport’s most successful and iconic figures, to create innovative business opportunities worldwide”. There are few places worldwide that offer the opportunities available in the US.

In addition to Wiggins, Sky’s Tour of California team includes Americans Ian Boswell, Joe Dombrowski and Danny Pate. Australian Nathan Earle, German Christian Knees, and Brits Luke Rowe and Josh Edmondson complete the line-up.

Last year’s Tour of California was won by Tejay van Garderen (BMC), who skips this year’s race as he prepares for the Tour de France in Europe.

Tour of California 2014: Stages
Stage 1, Sunday, May 11 – Sacramento to Sacramento, 123 miles
Stage 2, Monday, May 12 – Folsom (Individual Time Trial), 12.5 miles
Stage 3, Tuesday, May 13 – San Jose to Mount Diablo State Park, 110 miles
Stage 4, Wednesday, May 14 – Monterey to Cambria, 105 miles
Stage 5, Thursday, May 15 – Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara, 108 miles
Stage 6, Friday, May 16 – Santa Clarita to Mountain High, 97 miles
Stage 7, Saturday, May 17 – Santa Clarita to Pasadena, 91 miles
Stage 8, Sunday, May 18 – Thousand Oaks (Circuit Race), 84 miles
Total: 740 miles

Tour of California 2014: Teams
UCI ProTeams
Belkin Pro Cycling Team, Netherlands
BMC Racing Team, USA
Cannondale Pro Cycling, Italy
Omega Pharma–QuickStep Cycling Team, Belgium
Orica-GreenEdge, Australia
Team Giant-Shimano, Netherlands
Team Garmin-Sharp, USA
Team Sky, Great Britain
Trek Factory Racing, USA

UCI Professional Continental Teams
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, USA
Team Novo Nordisk, USA
Team NetApp-Endura, Germany

UCI Continental Teams
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, USA
Team Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home, USA
Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by MAXXIS, USA
Bissell Development Team, USA