Wiggins confirmed as Sky leader for Vuelta

Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France 2011, stage 4

Bradley Wiggins has been confirmed at Team Sky's leader for the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, which starts on Saturday (August 20) in Benidorm, Spain.

The British national road race champion crashed out of the Tour de France in July, breaking his collarbone. Wiggins had aimed for a podium finish at the Tour but the accident forced him to change his focus to the final Grand Tour of the 2011 season.

"I'm looking forward to making my return at the Vuelta a Espana," said Wiggins. "It's a race I haven't ridden before so it'll be exciting to take part in and I want to produce a strong performance for all those people who have supported me since my crash at the Tour de France.

"The level of encouragement I've received has been overwhelming and I'd like to do everyone proud. I have a great team here to support me and it should be a really exciting three weeks of racing."

Overall contender Wiggins is joined by fellow Brits Chris Froome and Ian Stannard on Sky's nine-man squad.

Australian Chris Sutton will lead Sky's charge in the sprint finishes, where he will come up against Britain's Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad).

Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Italians Dario Cioni and Morris Possoni, Swede Thomas Lofkvist and Spainiard Xabier Zandio complete the team.

"Everyone was pleased with the team's performance at the Tour de France and we will be looking to continue racing in the same way at the Vuelta a Espana," said Sky team prinicipal David Brailsford.

"Having Bradley back has reinvigorated us all. He will lead the team and has recovered and trained well since his operation, but the fact he hasn't been able to race for seven weeks means we will have to take things day by day."

Last year, Sky's Vuelta a Espana debut was cut short when the squad's soigneur Txema Gonzalez died suddenly of a bacterial blood infection. The team subsequently decided to withdraw from the race.

The 2011 Vuelta a Espana starts on Saturday, August 20, in Benidorm and finishes on Sunday, September 11, in Madrid. A full list of stages can be found in our 2011 Vuelta coverage index>.

Related links

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

Wiggins crashes out of Tour de France

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