Can the Tour de France winner start Britain's newest international stage race?
Confusion surrounds Bradley Wiggins’s planned participation into the Tour de Yorkshire [May 1-3], which begins just days after his Team Sky contract ends.
Although invitations for UCI Continental teams are yet to be finalised – those squads participating in the race are expected to be announced next week – it’s likely that the Tour de France winner’s new Wiggins outfit will be selected to ride the three-day event.
Wiggins told Cycling Weekly in Qatar last month that he plans to ride Britain’s newest international stage race, and reiterated that desire to the Cycling Podcast this week.
“I think I’ll be doing the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour Series with the new team,” he told CW last month about his Hour Record build-up.
Asked if he could join Team Wiggins on May 1, in time for the race start, he added: “I believe so, I hope so.”
Wiggins and Team Sky have already been granted special dispensation to have a contract that runs up to April 26 2015. Unless granted otherwise, UCI rule 2.15.119 states that contracts have to run up to December 31 in any year “in accordance with the conditions determined by the joint agreement concluded between the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) and the AIGCP (Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels)”.
This would leave Wiggins as a free agent. However, as Alessandro Petacchi found out in 2013 when he attempt to join Omega Pharma-Quick Step following a mid-season “retirement“, the UCI only permitted him to join the Belgian squad in its designated transfer window.
Unlike Petacchi, Wiggins will be switching from a WorldTour to a Continental (third division) squad and therefore the permitted transfer window – as stated by UCI rule 2.17.007 – is between June 1 and 25. This would rule the 34-year-old Briton out of the Tour de Yorkshire, but still makes his plans to ride the latter Tour Series rounds possible.
Cycling Weekly contacted the UCI this morning for clarification, and is expecting a clarification regarding Wiggins’s position imminently.
The Tour de Yorkshire, established as part of the legacy linked to last year’s Tour de France Grand Départ, begins in Bridlington on May 1 and ends in Leeds two days later.