Wiggins to make return in Spain

Bradley Wiggins will return to action in this weekend’s Vuelta a Espana.

Maida Vale’s three-time Olympic champion will lead Team Sky in the race when it begins in Benidorm on Saturday  – six weeks after being forced out of the Tour de France after suffering a broken colllarbone in a high-speed crash.

Wiggins, 31, revealed last month that surgery on the injury had been a success and that he was aiming to compete in Spain with a view to then taking part in September’s World Championships road time-trial in Denmark.

And it has been confirmed that he will be fit enough for this year’s Vuelta, which covers 3,300 kilometres (2,050 miles) and finishes in Madrid on 11 September.

“I’m looking forward to making my return. It’s a race I haven’t ridden before so it’ll be exciting to take part,” said Wiggins.

“I want to produce a strong performance for all those people who have supported me since my crash at the Tour de France.

“The level of encouragement I’ve received has been overwhelming and I’d like to do everyone proud. I have a great team here to support me and it should be a really exciting three weeks of racing.”

Sky competed in the race for the first time last year, but withdrew after the death of the squad’s masseur.

Their team this time around also includes Britons Chris Froome and Ian Stannard, as well as Swede Thomas Lofkvist, Italians Dario Cioni and Morris Possoni, Spaniard Xabier Zandio, Chris Sutton of Australia and Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen.

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said: “Having Bradley back has reinvigorated us all. He will lead the team and has recovered and trained well since his operation.

“But the fact he hasn’t been able to race for seven weeks means we will have to take things day by day.”

Wiggins was considered an outside contender for the Tour de France before his involvement was ended by a collision 40km from the end of the seventh stage, which was won by Mark Cavendish.