Wiggins may ride in Noosa race
THIS year's Noosa Cycling Grand Prix is already set to attract a star-studded field, but it's the prospect of Tour de France winner and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins racing that will have the Sunshine Coast abuzz.
USM Events founder Garth Prowd confirmed yesterday Wiggins, 32, was in discussions with his SKY teammates about the possibility of joining them at the event on November 3.
A handful of the British squad's riders have already expressed their interest in racing at Noosa Heads, including last year's Vuelta Spain stage winner Chris Sutton, former British national road race champion Jeremy Hunt and world-renowned workhorse Matthew Hayman.
"We've got about six guys out of the SKY team at the moment and they're all trying to talk Wiggins into coming," Prowd said.
"We won't count our chickens yet but the boys are certainly talking to him about it, and Wiggo has got some Australian connections, because his dad (Gary) was Australian."
The addition of Wiggins to the event line-up would be a major selling point for the event.
He is one of the world's most in-demand athletes, after experiencing a breakthrough season that included becoming the first Briton to win a Grand Tour in July and then claiming an Olympic gold medal in the time trial in London this month.
His presence on the Sunshine Coast would add significantly to what is already looming as the best field assembled for the Noosa Cycling Grand Prix.
A host of riders from Australia's professional squad Orica GreenEDGE are expected to take part, including big guns Cameron Meyer, Travis Meyer and Matt Goss.
"I think we're going to have two teams of GreenEDGE guys, because there are about 8-10 guys from the squad who have clicked in at the moment," Prowd said.
"Subaru is the major sponsor of the race and is intent on ramping it up significantly. They are also a major sponsor of Orica GreenEDGE, so it's all ramping up rather nicely."
One already locked in is Simon Clarke, who burst on to the world cycling stage by winning a stage of the Vuelta Espana last week.
"He's a definite starter at Noosa." Prowd said.
And the inclusion of Hayman in the race could make SKY the team to beat.
"He is pretty much classified as one of the top five domestiques in the world and was dragging all the SKY boys up the mountains in the Giro d'Italia this year," Prowd said.
The men's and women's Noosa Cycling Grand Prix races are set to be held on a tight "hot dog" circuit along Noosa Parade.
The races are just part of the action during the Noosa Triathlon Multi-Sport Festival, which runs from October 31-November 4.
All three of the men's Olympic Games triathlon medallists have indicated they are likely to compete in the Noosa Triathlon, including British star Alistair Brownlee.