Sir Bradley Wiggins could be on his way to Gwent
Updated 3:59pm Tuesday 1st April 2014 in Sport
SIR Bradley Wiggins and a host of cycling stars could be on their way to Gwent as stage three of the Tour of Britain comes to Abergavenny in September.
The 33-year-old, who won the Tour of Britain in 2013, has spoken of riding the Vuelta a Espana in 2014 as preparation for the Road World Championships later in September, where the time-trial is his main target.
But organisers have designed a route to tempt Wiggins to defend his title.
The Grand Depart takes place in Liverpool, not far from his Lancashire home, and the final day of the eight-day stage race concludes with a split stage in his home town of London, including a time-trial at which he excels.
Whether Team Sky’s Wiggins commits or not remains to be seen, but it is sure to be a compelling edition of the national tour with or without the 2012 Tour de France champion.
Wiggins is not the only one debating whether to choose to ride the Tour of Britain over the Vuelta.
David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), in his final season before retirement, is contemplating riding an event which many have used in recent years as Road World Championships preparations.
And the UCI’s decision to upgrade the race’s status means there will be the largest contingent of ProTour teams in the race, which features 18 teams of six riders.
It includes an excursion into Wales with stage two finishing on Llandudno sea front while stage three could prove decisive in the overall race.
The hilly 150-kilometre mid-Wales route from Newtown finishes atop The Tumble, above Abergavenny, which is also the central location for June’s British Championships
The 6km climb has an average gradient of 7.2 per cent, so is sure to test even the world’s best climbers, some of whom were at the Tour of Britain in 2013.
The Tour of Britain will conclude with a final stage 10-lap circuit race around central London.
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the final stage in 2013.
Ian Saunders, head of tourism, leisure and culture at Monmouthshire County Council, said: "Getting the finish of a stage of the Tour of Britain this year is a real coup in itself but for the riders to race up the Tumble Mountain near Abergavenny for the finish will be as spectacular as you can get.
"With the National Road and Time Trial Championships and Championship Sportive less than three months away, this fantastic news just confirms that Monmouthshire is really becoming a major player in staging cycling events across the UK.
"The Tour of Britain leg will now also give us a presence on a European platform as we see Continental riders from some great teams battling it out on our roads.”
Team Sky member Luke Rowe, from Cardiff, won stage one of the 2012 Tour of Britain and said Monmouthshire will be in for a real treat when the competition rolls into town.
Rowe, who is expected to enter the National Road Championships in the coming weeks, said: "It is another massive opportunity for people to see the world's best.
"I may be riding the Vuelta (de Espana) this year so I don't know if I will be riding the Tour of Britain but I have ridden it a few times now and the Welsh stage is said to be the best stage of them all."
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