Defending champ Wiggins to lead Sky at Tour of Britain

Sky will bring five riders to support Wiggins' bid at winning the nine-stage race through England

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) will return to the Tour of Britain next weekend to defend his 2013 victory at the eight-day, nine-stage race through England.

The squad will bring five riders to help Wiggins in his title defense: Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Bernhard Eisel, David Lopez, and Sebastian Henao.

“The Tour of Britain is a special race for me so to be returning as defending champion is a real honor,” Wiggins said in a Sky press release. “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.”

The race begins in Liverpool on September 7 and ends in London on September 14, a day that includes stages 8a and 8b — an 8.8-kilometer time trial followed by an 88.8km circuit race in London.

At last year’s race, Wiggins beat Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) by 26 seconds and Simon Yates by 1:03.

“From the start of the year it’s always been a goal of mine to race to the Tour of Britain,” said Wiggins, who was left off Sky’s Tour de France squad after winning the Amgen Tour of California this year. “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.”