BRIAN Cookson believes Chorley’s Bradley Wiggins has cemented his place in the Team Sky’s Tour de France squad after victory in the Tour of California last week.

Whalley’s Cookson, the president of the UCI – cycling’s governing body’ was in America to watch Wiggins dominate the race’s time trial on his way to an impressive victory which hinted at a return to the form he showed in winning the 2012 Tour de France.

Wiggins is likely to have to ride in support of defending champion Chris Froome if he does make the cut for this summer’s Tour – which starts in Yorkshire in a little over six weeks.

“Bradley Wiggins has been riding very well and looks very good. I think they have got to pick him,” said Cookson.

“You would have to be very confident to leave Bradley at home.

“He can play a key role in a number of stages. Hopefully it can bring some success again.

“Chris has been riding himself into form and Bradley looks very impressive. He looks strong on then bike and he looks happy off it.

“It looks like Team Sky will be really strong at the Tour this year.

“I don’t think there are any other teams that can say they have two former champions in their ranks and have two cards to play as strong as that.”

Wiggins, who had strong support from Froome during his 2012 Tour success, said he wants to ride the race in France.

And he acknowledges that if he is selected it will be to ride in support of the Kenyan born star.

The two star riders have not always seen eye to eye but Wiggins is ready to give his all for the team.

The 34-year-old said: “If I am fortunate enough to be in the Tour, it will be in support of Chris,” said Wiggins.

“Chris wants to win his second Tour and, as the defending champion, everyone understands that, including myself.”

Of winning in the USA Wiggins added: “It’s the satisfaction more than anything. I set my stall out to win this race and I’ve done it. “