David_Brailsford_head_and_shouldersAUGUST 31 - TELEVISON broadcaster BSkyB is to spend £40 million on backing a British professional road racing team run by David Brailsford (pictured) with the aim of producing a Tour de France winner within five years, it was announced today.

The squad will be called Team Sky and hopes to feed off the success of Britain's successful Olympic performance in Beijing last year when the cyclists won a record 14 medals, including eight gold.

The idea of Britian entering a team in the Tour de France was first revealed on insidethegames last June.

The team will start competing at the start of next year, probably at the Tour Down Under in Australia and hope to win a wild card entry in the Tour de France.

Brailsford said: "The team will be funded at a level you’d expect a winning team to have.

"Now it’s down to looking at what it will take to win the Tour with a clean, British rider.

"Our ambitions for the 2012 London Olympics will be increased by this project but, ultimately, we are in this to win the Tour.

"That has never been done by a British rider so it’s time we put the record straight.

"This has been a dream for some time and now Sky is making it a reality.

"The target is for a British winner of the Tour de France within five years, and like all the goals we set it is achievable but very, very ambitious.

"But reach for the stars and you get the moon, and that's what we want to strive towards."

Brailsford will now lead a recruitment process.

His targets will include Bradley Wiggins, a double Olympic gold medallist in Beijing, who earns £250,000 a year with United States outfit Garmin-Slipstream.

Another Briton, four-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish, is on about £1.2 million a year with Columbia-Highroad, also from America.

But top riders can be bought out of contracts and Team Sky is determined to become the best.

Brailsford said: "Team Sky will only enhance British prospects, with riders, and especially up-and-coming talent, benefiting from a pro team set-up that gives them the best training and support in an environment that will help them to develop.

"The team is a natural evolution for the Olympic programme as the quantity and calibre of British riders continues to grow."

Jeremy Darroch, Sky's chief executive, said; "Sky has a core belief in the power of sport - we want to get people involved.

"We are hugely impressed by Dave Brailsford, inspired by the success of British riders and excited about embarking upon this ambitious project together.

"Sky is already the principal partner for British Cycling, supports the Youth Sport Trust through Sky Sports Living for Sport and invests heavily in British sport.

"Team Sky builds on this and will inspire people of all ages and abilities to get out and ride, for fun, for fitness, and for the environment.

"We want to make heroes, persuade a generation to pull on Team Sky colours and inspire people to ride.

"This will be an epic story; building a British team to take on the best in professional cycling, and win."

Sky is also working with British Cycling to develop a range of inspiring events, to make cycling fun, easy and accessible to all, which will be announced in the spring.