Brad 'comes home' to Team Sky
Bradley Wiggins said joining Team Sky was "like coming home" and is relishing an assault on the 2010 Tour de France.
By Jonathan Turner
Last Updated: 24/12/09 11:27am
Bradley Wiggins said joining Team Sky was 'like coming home' and is relishing an assault on the 2010 Tour de France.
Wiggins' move to the BSkyB-backed outfit was confirmed on Thursday, with the three-time Olympic gold medallist signing a four-year deal.
The 29-year-old was fourth in the Tour de France for Garmin and he said of the switch: "Moving to Team Sky is like coming home. I'll be on a British team with management and coaches who have shaped me as a rider.
"They are instrumental in my achievements so far and I know they are critical for the next part of my career.
"I had a great time at Garmin and was surrounded by a lot of good friends but there was only ever going to be one team that I would leave that team for and that was to come home to Sky and Dave [Brailsford] and pretty much everyone who has helped me to my Olympic success."
That was echoed by Brailsford, the man who has transformed British track cycling and who now aims to replicate that on the road with Team Sky.
Brailsford said: "Brad and I go right back to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. We've been through three Olympics together, so we've worked closely together for all this time.
"As Team Sky has become a reality it became very, very clear to us that one of the key players we would like to join at the start of an historic moment in British cycling was Bradley so it gives me huge pleasure to welcome him to the team.
"He is one of the biggest players in the world of cycling and we wanted to make sure that we've got the right riders in this team to take the project forward."
Tour de Force
Asked whether he was the rider to become Britain's first ever winner of the Tour de France, Wiggins said: "I think that the same sort of mindset that we take into this project is what we've always done with the track - that's to be the best we can possibly be for whatever the goal is. And if the goal next year is the Tour de France then the aim will be to be in the best possible condition in July.
"That's not just myself, but everything around us - the team and the backroom staff. A lot goes into winning something like the Tour de France but it won't be for the want of trying."
Brailsford vowed to do everything he can to make that dream become a reality, explaining: "Our philosophy has always been about everyone trying to support the riders to be the best they can be. And if their best is good enough to win the Tour de France then that's fantastic.
"It's a dream and we'll work around things that we can control, looking at ways we can help Brad and every other rider's performance to be the best they can be.
"My personal opinion is that the best that Brad Wiggins can be is very close to the top of the Tour de France podium so it's very, very exciting."
Trying to reproduce the track success on the road is the aim for both Wiggins and Brailsford and the pair are relishing the challenge.
"Everyone knows where the track cycling team has gone from pretty much 10 years ago - it's now the most dominant force in track cycling," said Wiggins.
"Taking that philosophy and the infrastructure and everything onto the road and trying to conquer the pro cycling stage is incredibly exciting.
"This team wants to be biggest and the best and the most admired team in the world. It's the first British ProTour team and to be part of that from the start is going to be something quite special and I'm just lookng forward to getting 2010 under way.
"You just look at the set up behind us with the Pinarello bike and that looks like the best bike on the ProTour circuit at the moment.
"Whether it's Ferrari in Formula One or Manchester United in football - this team aspires to be on that stage and it's really exciting to be part of that."
With the team making its debut at the Tour Down Under in January, the focus now switches firmly to the task ahead.
"As Bradley rightly says it's not about what's happened to date, it's about what we're going to do in the future," said Brailsford.
"It's about getting racing in January and that's where we'll be concentrating all our attention now."
And Brailsford can't wait for the action to get under way, saying: "It's been a hard year, a steep learning curve, getting everything together.
"It's been a challenge but I've got a fantastic team of people around me and they've done a tremendous job.
"The way I've always worked is to surround myself with experts in given areas and let them do their thing and use their expertise. It's very, very exciting."