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Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Olympic cycling champion Bradley Wiggins joins Team Sky

Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins finished fourth in this year's Tour de France

Team Sky have signed three-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins for the forthcoming road cycling season.

Wiggins has left American team Garmin with a year left on his contract to join the team led by British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford.

The 29-year-old finished fourth in this year's Tour de France, the joint-best ever finish by a British rider.

"This team wants to be the biggest, the best and the most admired team in the world," said Wiggins.

"It's the first British ProTour team and to be part of that from the start is going to be something quite special.

"We're looking forward to getting 2010 under way now and putting 2009 in the history books and getting on with next year."

Wiggins is expected to lead Sky's roster of riders in the team's debut season, after acquiring an International Cycling Union ProTour cycling licence.

"I'll be on a British team with management and coaches who have shaped me as a rider," added the Londoner.

"They are instrumental in my achievements so far and I know they are critical for the next part of my career.

"Team Sky has huge ambitions, not just for the team but for cycling and inspiring the public to ride. It's an amazing project and the next four years will be very exciting."

Brad was a real revelation at this year's Tour de France

Sky team principal Dave Brailsford

Brailsford, who has orchestrated the most successful period in British cycling history, was delighted to be teaming up with Wiggins for the forthcoming road season.

"It's been a real ambition of mine for quite some time now," said the Sky team principal.

"My personal opinion is that the best Brad Wiggins can be is very close to the top of the Tour de France podium - it's very, very exciting.

"And he will get better still. He can continue to develop, surrounded by some of the coaches and performance experts who have worked with him for years as part of the British Cycling set-up.

"As Team Sky have become a reality, it became very, very clear to us that one of the key players to join the team and start off this historic moment in the history of cycling, was obviously Bradley.

"With his experience he will help us to develop our great young talents too.

"His presence will not only help us on the road but with the wider aims of inspiring people to not only follow the team but to get out and ride, whatever their age or ability."

Alex Murray - BBC Radio 5 live

Garmin are likely to have sought substantial compensation for one of the leading candidates to win the 2010 Tour de France.

A statement from the American team said: "Although we understand his strong desire to be a part of the UK's first-ever Pro Tour team, we would have loved to continue with him through 2010.

"His departure is not the outcome we hoped for."

Wiggins signed a two-year deal with Garmin in October 2008, but had become frustrated with the American team's ambitions.

"It's like trying to win the Champions League," he told BBC Sport in September. "You need to be at Manchester United, but I'm playing at Wigan. I've had a good time at Garmin, but times have changed."

Formed in February, Team Sky has been given the remit to deliver a British Tour de France winner by 2014.

Wiggins recently said he is targeting a second-placed finish in next year's Tour, as he believes he can gain an early edge over his rivals.

"I've looked at the route. A lot of people are thinking it won't be a great Tour for me but that first week is, if anything, advantageous to me," he said.

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see also
Wiggins keen for Team Sky switch
21 Nov 09 |  Cycling
Wiggins hints at Team Sky switch
25 Sep 09 |  Cycling
Wiggins wins first pro stage race
17 Oct 09 |  Cycling
Brave Wiggins holds on to fourth
25 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Wiggins calls for Hoy knighthood
30 Sep 08 |  Cycling
Foreign stars sign for Team Sky
10 Sep 09 |  Cycling
New GB team to aim for Tour win
26 Feb 09 |  Cycling
Brits to watch: Bradley Wiggins
04 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008

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