September 18 - Britain's triple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins (pictured) is at the centre of a transfer riddle after it was claimed that he was signing for Britain's new squad, Team Sky, after securing his release from Garmin-Slipstream.

It had been reported that Sky would announce today that they had agreed to pay Garmin-Slipstream £2 million to buy Wiggins out of his existing contract which still has a year left to run.

But Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin's team-manager, said: “It’s just untrue.

"There is no agreement in existence like this.

"He’s under contract.

"And people are like, 'Oh they [Sky] can just buy him out.'

"Yeah, but how much would that take?"
Vaughters claimed that if Wiggins, who finished fourth in this year's Tour de France just three seconds behind Lance Armstrong, left it could put at risk the team's multi-million dollar sponsorship from Garmin, who manufacture and market GPS navigation, communication and sonar products.

He said: "I mean for me, like losing your best rider in the Tour that’s not a million dollar buyout.

"What’s the value of a title sponsorship?

"Because you’re risking that by losing your best GC (general classification) rider at the Tour.
"What is that then, $15 million (£9 million) for a buyout?

"Really, you look at the real value, it is probably in line with $15 million (£9 million)."

"Wiggo really loves our team and of course, it’s normal that after such a performance that people are coming at you with wads of cash.

"But the fact of the matter is I have a lot of faith in him and there was a reason I wanted to work with him for two years, not one, and I’m sure he’ll produce another performance in the Tour [in 2010] that will make him equally valuable going forward.

"I think with time It’ll become apparent that our team is a really good fit for him."

Sky plan to bankroll the British team to the tune of £40 million with the aim of producing a British winner of the Tour de France within five years.

Vaughters (pictured here with Wiggins) said: "It’s understandable that there were rumours he’d [Wiggins] go to Sky.

"It’s a British team, they have more money than any other team in the world, but that’s all under the assumption I’d accept a buyout.

"At the end of the day, I really like Wiggo.

"How much would you sell your mom for?"

David Brailsford, the performance director of British Cycling and the principal of Team Sky, was caught unawares by the reports.

He said: "It's taken us all by surprise that one.

"We had a Team Sky away day yesterday so were locked in a hotel all day so certainly nothing came from us.

"There's no comment really from our side, to be honest."

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