Sutton says Froome should lead Sky’s Tour team: ‘Bradley will just have to settle for a support role’
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Sutton says Froome should lead Sky’s Tour team: ‘Bradley will just have to settle for a support role’

by VeloNation Press at 10:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Wiggins’ mentor sees team success as being of prime importance

Chris FroomeBradley Wiggins may have been unsuccessful in his bid to win the Giro d’Italia but according to the man who is one of his biggest guides in the sport, Shane Sutton, the Brition should forget about trying to bounce back with victory in the Tour de France.

Sutton, who has been an integral part of Wiggins’ success for many years, said that he believed that Chris Froome deserves full support for the Tour de France. Although Wiggins is the defending champion, he said at the Tour presentation last October that he didn’t plan on targeting the race, but would instead focus his energy on the Giro.

While that stance has waivered since then, with Wiggins saying on several occasions that he wants to try to take another Tour, Sutton agrees with Froome that he deserves to be number one for this year’s race.

“I think that, at this moment in time, you base it on the evidence before you and Froome will be the nominated rider. Bradley will just have to settle for a support role,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “Froome has won continually this year. I think just about every race he has ridden he has won.

“Brad hasn’t had a win since last August so I think the team will very much be getting behind Chris, as Chris did with Brad last year.”

In the past year tension has been evident between Wiggins and Froome. Hints of it cropped up during last year’s Tour when Froome rode away from Wiggins in the mountain and had to be called back by the team. Since then, the older rider’s fluctuating stance on what his Tour goals will be have also made their working relationship more difficult.

In late April Wiggins told the BBC that he wanted to go for the Tour. “The Tour de France is my focus,” he said then. “It's just that I'm doing the Giro before."

This prompted Froome to issue a statement insisting that he had been told he would be top dog. “I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing,” he wrote on April 30th. “At no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question.”

Team principal Dave Brailsford appeared to agree, saying on May 6th that last year’s runner-up had indeed been given those assurances this year. “It is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader,” he stated.

“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.”

Sutton has been regarded as a father figure by Wiggins and his opinion will have more impact upon him than most. However, despite the fact that they have long been close, Sutton believes that the team’s success is more important than any one person.

“If Brad is riding the Tour and is over his illnesses and whatever, he will have to get behind the team,” he insisted. “I think, if we can get that good dynamic environment in there for us and they can forget the past, we can push for another win in the Tour.”

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