Bradley Wiggins (GBR) races at Box Hill during the men’s cycling race. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins could be a doubt for the world championships next week after pulling out before the sixth stage of the Tour of Britain with illness on Friday.

Team Sky said on their Twitter feed that the Olympic time trial gold medalist had a stomach bug.

The men’s road race at the worlds in the Netherlands province of Limburg takes place a week on Sunday when Wiggins’ British team will be hoping to defend Mark Cavendish’s title.

British Cycling confirmed their lineup for the world championships on Friday with Olympic time trial bronze medalist and Tour runner-up Chris Froome chosen for both Wednesday’s time trial and the road race.

Wiggins had already decided to only compete in the road race.

Fans lament Wiggins’ withdrawal from Tour of Britain

Olympic and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins’ withdrawal from the Tour of Britain with a stomach bug on Friday has left the race without one of its main attractions.

Fans flocking to the 190 km route from Powys Castle in Welshpool to Caerphilly Castle in south Wales were left disappointed after Wiggins failed to start the sixth stage, which was won by Czech rider Leopold Koenig.

Wiggins’ fellow Briton Jonathan Tiernan-Locke grabbed the overall lead after finishing just behind Koenig.

However, rather than cheering on those who crossed the line first, spectators were lamenting Wiggins’ absence.

“I’m sorry to have to pull out of the Tour,” Wiggins told his Team Sky website (www.teamsky.com).

“I’ve loved the last six days, meeting so many people around the country and enjoying those crowds along the roads. It has been a great experience, but this bug sadly means I’ll now miss the climax this weekend.

“I’m sorry I can’t continue and would like to thank all those fans, of all ages, for the support.”

Amateur rider Joel Bland, 18, from Lampeter, was one of thousands who had lined the streets and after learning about Wiggins’s withdrawal, he told the BBC: “I can’t believe that. That’s a shame.”

The race finishes on Sunday.