Sir Bradley Wiggins has yet to confirm his plans for 2015, but details are rapidly emerging of his new project: a British-based team that he will ultimately ride for.
Although many details are yet to be confirmed, and no official announcements have been made, here’s what we know so far about ‘Team Wiggins’ and how the squad may fit in around the time trial world champion’s personal plans.
Will Wiggins leave Team Sky?
It looks likely that Wiggins will start the season with Team Sky before switching to his new Continental-level team mid-year. The UCI has a transfer window for riders between June 1-25, which would fit perfectly.
Is Wiggins still aiming for Paris-Roubaix?
Wiggins has previously stated that he is aiming to ride Paris-Roubaix on April 12, and that it would be one of his major targets for the season. A prestigious one-day Classic race win is pretty much the only thing missing from his palmares, and they don’t come more prestigious than the ‘Hell of the North’. Ninth place in the 2014 event shows he has what it takes – and 2015 is his last chance for glory.
And the Hour Record?
Wiggins looks set to take on the iconic Hour Record in June 2015, most likely early in the month and while still signed with Sky. All expectation is that he will set a new distance for the Hour that will be extremely hard to beat. After that, he may well leave Sky and start with his new team.
Who else will be on ‘Team Wiggins’?
It’s very likely that Wiggins will recruit the services of current Great Britain track endurance riders, as they head towards the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Wiggins is aiming to win one last Olympic title in Rio – and the team pursuit is his best bet to claim a fifth gold.
Mark Christian and Andy Tennant have both said they have been approached to be part of Wiggins’ squad, with Steven Burke also likely. Other members of the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme could also be involved. GB team pursuit stalwart Ed Clancy won’t be on the team, however, as he’s signed up to JLT-Condor for 2015.
Is there a sponsor on board?
No sponsorship has been announced yet, although it is thought that Sky may be involved in some capacity but not as a title sponsor due to conflict with its WorldTour team. Wiggins himself has sponsorship contacts, and his association with the squad is a strong draw for potential backers.
British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake has said: “For Sky to say ‘we really want to look at supporting a British team in a bid to send them off to the [Rio] Games in the best shape possible’ is exciting. It shows that the support for British riders – in major Tours and our Olympic aspirations – is as firm as ever.”
Where will the team race?
As a Continental-level team (the same level as British teams NFTO, Madison-Genesis and Raleigh), the squad will not be invited to WorldTour races on a wildcard place as this is restricted to Professional Continental teams. However, they will get a chance to ride in top-level British races, including the Tour of Britain, RideLondon Classic and Tour Series if invited, and selected Europe Tour events. With a big name like Wiggins riding, the possibility of race invites increases significantly.
How can riders race on the road and prepare for the Olympics on the track?
The team is being built to bring together British endurance riders as they head towards Rio 2016, and will be wholeheartedly sympathetic to blocks of training on the track as well as taking part in road races when this fits in. It is unlikely that there will be undue pressure on key GB riders to win every road race they take part in.
What happens after 2015?
After the team’s inaugural season, focus will likely switch more towards the track – in Wiggins’ case it’s likely he will focus almost entirely on the track. Perhaps we will see the team fielding riders in the Revolution track series as well as representing Great Britain in Track World Cups.
Wiggins gave a presentation at the Festival of Marketing on Thursday, and said that he hopes his team will “find the next Bradley Wiggins or Chris Hoy”.
“That is something that I think would really drive me for the next 10 years. That is kind of what the start of this team is about; it’s that grassroots, the future of the sport and finding the next champion.”
Sir Bradley Wiggins tells the Festival of Marketing he hopes his new development squad will drive him for the next
Former Hour Record holder Ole Ritter thinks Bradley Wiggins could hit the 55-kilometre mark for the iconic record
As revealed in last week's CW, European individual and team pursuit champion will link up with Bradley Wiggins in 2015.
GB endurance squad members likely to form key part of track-focused team set up by the former Tour de France