WARSAW, Poland (AFP) — Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, winner of the 2012 Tour de France, returns to action this weekend in the Tour of Poland after a season hit by injury and illness.
The 33-year-old, who is also the reigning Olympic time trial champion, was forced to sit out this year’s edition of the Tour de France, which was won by his Sky teammate and compatriot Chris Froome.
The Tour of Poland begins with two stages in the mountains of northern Italy, with the remaining five in Poland, including a final stage time trial in the southern city of Krakow.
Wiggins has not raced since he was forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia because of an illness on May 17, but Sky boss Dave Brailsford said this week he was “very, very motivated” for his return to action.
The popular Londoner will have alongside him Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who finished second in the Giro behind Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) — who will also race in Poland.
“Nibali has been training in the Dolomites for the last 30 days. It’s not only a question of points in the UCI classification but also prestige,” Tour of Poland director Czeslaw Lang said of the opening stages in the mountains.
“Whoever wins on Passo Pordoi enters into cycling history, just like those who win on the Mont Ventoux or Alpe d’Huez in France,” he added.
In all, 138 riders from 23 teams are taking part in the Tour, which ends on August 3.