Sir Bradley Wiggins is to launch a new professional cycling team in 2015 as a part of his commitment to encourage a healthy cycling culture within the UK.
The British track and road legend, who holds seven Olympic medals, has formed the UCI ranked team - named Wiggins - as he prepares for the team pursuit at the 2016 Olympic Games.
If he wins an eighth medal in Rio, Wiggins will become the most decorated British athlete in Olympic history.
The new team will be sponsored by Wiggins’ long-time supporter Sky and is fully endorsed by British Cycling.
It will feature a dynamic stable of young British cycling talent that includes Andy Tennant, Owain Doull, Mark Christian, Jon Dibben, Steven Burke, Daniel Patten, Mike Thompson and Iain Paton.
“Cycling has given me everything,” Wiggins said.
“Now I want to build something to inspire kids and to reach all those people who might be on the fringes of the sport. My message is simple: If I can do it, then so can you.”
Details for the team’s bike and resource suppliers, colours, logo and team jersey will be unveiled in spring 2015, along with the team’s calendar of UK track and road events. Within this schedule Sir Bradley will make an attempt on the iconic hour record live.
Wiggins’ attempt will be shown live on TV across the UK and is sure to be one of the sporting spectacles of the summer.
“I’ve dreamt about the hour record since I was a boy,” said Wiggins.
“Anyone can have a crack at and measure themselves against the best in the world. We’ve seen cycling grow in popularity over the last few years and I want Wiggins to inspire a new generation of cyclists."
Wiggins will operate independently of British Cycling but will provide opportunities for competitive British riders to gain experience and track time together in the 12 months prior to Rio 2016.
Ian Drake, chief executive of British Cycling, said: “Sir Bradley’s performances on track and road have helped to inspire a new generation of British cyclists.
“He won his first Olympic medal in Sydney in 2000 and it's impressive to see him still breaking new ground now, 15 years later, as his team Wiggins represents a great opportunity for some of our most promising young riders to develop their skills and abilities on the road to Rio 2016.”
Wiggins re-wrote the record books with Team Sky by becoming the first British man to win the Tour de France in 2012. His 2014 triumphs include winning the Tour of California and the time trial title at the UCI Road World Championships.
Since Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012, British Cycling’s membership has more than doubled, passing 100,000 for the first time in the organisation’s history last year.
Over two million people now cycle at least once a week in England, and the move to create a new British team has been welcomed by leading lights of the UK sports industry.
Sir Dave Brailsford said: "Bradley has written one of the greatest stories in British sport over the last 10 years.
“His exciting new project, Wiggins, will undoubtedly have a lot to offer cycling in the UK on the road to Rio 2016 and beyond. It is a really positive move for the sport and further evidence - if any were needed - that cycling is continuing to go from strength to strength in the UK.”
Robert Tansey, brand director, content and cycling at Sky, commented: “Sky is delighted to support Wiggins and shares in Sir Bradley’s goal to bring even more cycling success at the Rio Olympic Games.
“The partnership between Sky and Wiggins strengthens our support of cycling, from grass roots to elite level.”
As previously announced Sir Bradley will be continuing to ride with Team Sky until Paris Roubaix in April 2015.
Sir Bradley Wiggins