Brailsford confirms that Froome rather than Wiggins will be Team Sky leader for Tour de France
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Monday, May 6, 2013

Brailsford confirms that Froome rather than Wiggins will be Team Sky leader for Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 8:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
“Our plan, as it has been since January is to have him lead the Tour de France team.”

Bradley WigginsFollowing recent signs of tension between Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome over who will lead the Team Sky team at the Tour de France, with both riders suggesting that they want to be number one, team principal Dave Brailsford has weighed in on the matter.

Brailsford has referred to Froome’s victories in the Tour of Oman, Paris Nice and the Tour of Romanie, and said that as things stand, he will be number one.

“As always the team selection is a management decision and it will be evidence-based. However it is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader,” he said via the team’s website.

“Taking that into consideration and given Chris’ step up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January is to have him lead the Tour de France team.

“With over seven weeks until the Tour and the Giro to focus on, our final selection of nine won’t be confirmed until after the Dauphine. Everyone here is 100% focused on this race and the next three weeks.”

Wiggins’ position has oscillated continuously in recent months, raising tension with Froome. At the Tour de France presentation last October he said that the Giro d’Italia would be his main focus and that while he would ride the Tour, he would most likely do so to help the 2012 runner-up.

“I will be at the start, that is for sure. If Chris is the leader, then we go for it,” he told Eurosport then. “My priority will be the Tour of Italy. It has become apparent that it is very difficult to compete in two Grand Tours at that level, so it is more than likely that I will be there in a helping capacity.”

By December, his position appeared to have changed. “As it stands I'm probably going to try and win a second Tour de France, so I don't know, maybe we'll have two leaders,” Wiggins told BBC Radio 5 Live. “That’s more than likely, I guess. How that's going to work with the team I don't know, it's more Dave's [Dave Brailsford, team principal] problem, really.”

Since then he has given out mixed messages, with some interviews confirming an intention to try to win the Tour, and others suggesting that Froome would be given support.

Earlier this week, he appeared to have made his mind up. “The Tour de France is my focus,” Wiggins told the BBC. “It's just that I'm doing the Giro before.”

Froome reacted with a statement saying that he, rather than Wiggins, should be heading the team. “I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing,” he said in a statement released last Monday, hours after Wiggins’ statements to the press.

“At no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question. There has been much speculation regarding the leadership for Team Sky at the Tour de France this year. I have made it clear that winning the Tour would be my main objective for 2013.”

Brailsford’s statement today now backs that up, making it clear that he believed that Wiggins should play a support role in the race. Unless something happens to derail Froome, or unless the younger rider is not in condition to win the Tour, he wants to see Wiggins back him up.

In that regard, the latter’s chances of winning a Grand Tour this year centre on the Giro d’Italia, which he is currently riding.

“We're in a fantastic position - we have two of the best GC riders in the world and they are both great racers with a competitive will to win,” Brailsford said.

“Since the start of season, Bradley's performance plan has focused around training specifically to try and win the Giro and then ride the Tour, whilst Chris’ has been focused on attempting to win the Tour.

“Now we're here - the Giro has started and Bradley has done a brilliant job of getting in the best-possible condition for his assault on the race.”

Also see: Sean Kelly video assessment of Wiggins vs Froome: ‘I would not like to be the director of Sky’



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