Wiggins says two leaders are better than one for the Tour de France
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wiggins says two leaders are better than one for the Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 9:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Defending champion says he’ll back Froome if team-mate is better positioned to win

Bradley WigginsSpeaking after Chris Froome has said that he was told by team principal Dave Brailsford that he would be the protected rider in next year’s Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins has moved to play down suggestions of discord between the two riders over the issue.

“If we get to the Tour and he's the man then we'll support him,” the 2012 race winner told the Guardian. “The last four years, all the focus has been on the Tour de France for me, trying to win that race. Fortunately I did it this year, then it's deciding what to do next.”

Wiggins surprised many in October when, at the Tour de France presentation, he said that race would likely play second fiddle to another ambition of his in 2013: winning the Giro d’Italia.

Since then he has said that he would like to win another Tour and believes that it might be possible to take both it and the Giro, thus completing a rare double.

“The Tour of Italy is something I'd love to win,” he said today. “In cycling terms it's just as big as the Tour for me, but also going back as defending champion next year to try to win a second Tour de France.

“We're very fortunate that we have two people that can win the Tour de France. Having two people equally as strong, trying to beat the likes of [Alberto] Contador and Andy Schleck, is going to work in our favour.”

Froome visibly held back on several mountain stages last year, although it is uncertain if he could have gained up enough time to overcome his eventual near-four minute deficit to his team-mate.

He lost the bulk of that gap in the time trials. There are fewer TT kilometres next year, though, plus a harder set of mountains, and so the Kenyan-born rider believes he may have a better chance than Wiggins.

He decided this autumn to stay with the team rather than accepting offers from rival outfits, and felt that he had been given sufficient guarantees to believe he would be the designated leader.

Wiggins’ latest comments appear designed to quell suggestions of a clash. “It could be any one of us, it could be Chris Froome on the day, it could be me,” he said. “But once we get on that line we all have a professional obligation. We saw this year what Chris did for me; it could be that I'll be doing that for him next year for the team to win."

Wiggins said that his experiences in 2011 showed that it was dangerous to stake everything on one rider.

“We saw a couple of years ago, [that] once I crashed out the team was left without anything to do really, because all our eggs were put into the basket of me.

“This year, had I crashed out in that first week, we always had a back-up plan with Chris Froome. It always helps to have strength in numbers – it's a nice problem to have. So much is made of the negative aspects of having two leaders who could potentially win, but very little has been said about the positive side.

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