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Wiggins to Lead Sky at Tour of California

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AFP / Yuzuru Sunada

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will lead the Sky team in the Tour of California that starts on Sunday in Sacramento, organizers said Monday. Britain’s Wiggins was among the field of 128 cyclists announced for the eight-day, 720-mile (1,159 km) race that will conclude on May 18 in Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles. Joining Wiggins are Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Mark Cavendish of Britain and Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, the Slovakian who holds the record for the most California stage victories at 10.

Wiggins’s star has dimmed somewhat since his outstanding year in 2012, when he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and followed it up with a time-trial gold at his home Olympics in London. He suffered a disastrous 2013 when he pulled out of the Giro d’Italia due to illness and then missed defending his Tour title with an injury. He also had to watch as Chris Froome succeeded him as Tour champion and firmly established himself as the Team Sky leader.

After finishing ninth at Paris-Roubaix last month, Wiggins vowed to earn his place on the Sky team to support reigning Tour de France champion Froome in the Tour de France in July. Sunday’s 193-km opening stage that starts in finishes in the California state capital of Sacramento is followed by a 20-kilometer time trial in Folsom on Monday and Tuesday’s third stage takes the riders 174.5 km from San Jose to the summit of Mount Diablo.