Defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins will lead Team Sky’s squad at the 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain, which begins in Liverpool on Sunday 7 September.
Wiggins returns to the Friends Life Tour of Britain after winning the race in 2013 and this year he will line up alongside fellow British riders Ian Stannard and Ben Swift as part of a six-man squad.
The 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain starts in Liverpool this weekend and finishes in London on Sunday 14 September, taking in eight tough stages along the way. Following the spectacular Tour de France Grand Départ leaving from the UK last July this is another opportunity for fans to see Team Sky on British roads.
On Sunday 7 September Liverpool will host to two major cycling events. In the morning Sky will host the first ever Sky Ride Liverpool event, where cyclists of all ages and abilities are able to enjoy a fun day of cycling through a traffic-free route in the city centre, which is free for all to enter. This will be followed in the afternoon by Stage One of the Friends Life Tour of Britain, the country’s largest professional cycle race.
Sir Bradley Wiggins will be joined in a six-man line up by: Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Bernhard Eisel, David Lopez and Sebastian Henao.
Speaking about racing the eleventh edition of the race, Sir Bradley Wiggins said: “The Tour of Britain is a special race for me so to be returning as defending champion is a real honour.
“It’s always been a tough race but the support we receive from the fans is incredible, and it’s our home tour so I’ve always enjoyed racing it.
“From the start of the year it’s always been a goal of mine to race to the Tour of Britain. The race is growing in stature year on year and it’s our chance to go there with a strong team and race in front of home fans to thank them for their support over the season.
“Cycling’s now more popular than ever before in the UK with over a million more people are getting out on their bikes. This is great for the sport we love and Sky and British Cycling have been at the heart of this transformation, so having a Sky Ride start on the same day as Stage One in Liverpool is brilliant. Hopefully it will inspire people to go on Sky Ride in the morning and then cheer us on in the afternoon.”
The Team Sky squad for the 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain will be:
Sir Bradley Wiggins, United Kingdom – age 34
Returning to the race with the number one of defending champion on his back, Bradley has one of the most impressive palmares in all of modern day cycling. The 2012 Tour de France winner knows the Tour of Britain well having ridden in five of the last six editions.
Bernhard Eisel, Austria – age 33
A Classics specialist, Bernie is comfortable no matter what the British weather throws at the peloton. Another Tour of Britain regular and established road captain, the Austrian is always a fan-favourite after 14 seasons as a pro.
Sebastian Henao, Columbia – age 21
Sebastian has enjoyed a memorable first season as a pro and made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia as the youngest rider in the race. The race brings his first taste of British roads but he should excel on the punchy climbs.
David Lopez, Spain – age 33
A member of Team Sky’s Tour de France squad on both his first two seasons with the team, David is one of the best climbing domestiques in the business and finished fourth in his own right at the Tour of Britain last season.
Ian Stannard, United Kingdom – age 27
British fans will be happy to see Ian back in action following a bad crash during the Spring Classics. One of the most powerful men in the peloton, he enjoys nothing more than putting the hammer down in difficult conditions.
Ben Swift, United Kingdom – age 26
One of three Brits in the team, Ben is a fast finisher who claimed his first professional victory back at the 2009 Tour of Britain. Able to win big bunch kicks or sprint from a select group, he will be looking to target more success in this race.