September 15 - Bradley Wiggins (pictured) today pulled out of the Tour of Britain in Blackpool in order to concentrate on this month’s World Road Race Championships in Switzerland.

Garmin-Slipstream rider Wiggins, who was well off the pace in the general classification sitting in 75th position, rode the final 50 kilometres back to his home in Chorley immediately after completing the 148km fourth stage around Blackpool.

With the time trial at the World Championships on September 24 approaching Wiggins decided to opt out of the remainder of the Tour of Britain’s final four stages.

He said: "It's just over a week to the World Championships and I don't want to take any risks.

“I've got to keep the bigger picture in perspective and save my mental energy for one last big effort.

"I'm riding well and when I'm like that I can't resist riding hard and today I did 50km on the front.

“But I could end up going too hard and not have anything left for the World Championships.

"I've said all year that I want a medal because it'll top off a great season for me.

"Of course I won't say no to the win and the world title either."

In today’s fourth stage around Blackpool, which included the category-one climb at Warrington Fell, Wiggins, the triple Olympic champion who finished fourth in the Tour de France earlier this year, was at his very best again.

After Ireland's Nicolas Roche and Simon Clarke joined Italy's Federico Canuti in an early breakaway, the peloton overhauled the leading group, inspired by the sterling efforts of Wiggins.

Wiggins said: “This week is all about preparing for the World Championships and making sure I have the miles in my legs for that.

“It’s still great to be in this event and I love competing on home soil - especially when the weather is so good.

“It’s been amazing to have the crowd calling my name wherever I go, but I guess that’s what doing well in the Tour de France does to you.”

Wiggins’ Garmin team-mate Chris Sutton finished second in Blackpool, losing out in a sprint finish to Norway’s Edvald Boassen Hagen (pictured), who won for the second consecutive day to move within a second of overall leader, Dutchman Kai Reus.

Sutton’s podium finish means he remains third in the general classification, five seconds behind Reus, while he leads the way in the point’s competition.

The Australian was quick to praise the contribution of Wiggins to his performances at the Tour of Britain thus far. 

Sutton said: “He [Wiggins] was pushing 60 kilometres for a lot of the ride and I was telling him to slow down because I’d need him at the finish.

“But he just looked at me and said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ve got loads in the tank’.

"He’s incredible.”

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