Suggestion of health issues raises question marks over Wiggins’ Tour de France participation
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Friday, May 31, 2013

Suggestion of health issues raises question marks over Wiggins’ Tour de France participation

by VeloNation Press at 7:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Could defending champion miss the race entirely?

Bradley WigginsHaving already been told by his team that he must ride for team-mate Chris Froome in the Tour de France, it appears that defending champion Bradley Wiggins may end up missing the event altogether this year. According to British media reports, the Team Sky rider has lingering health issues and has not been able to prepare properly for the race as a result.

Although he said beforehand he believed he was in the shape necessary to win the event, Wiggins was out of sorts in the Giro. He crashed on stage seven, lost time on several of the wet descents and was also dropped on the uphills. He developed inflammation to his left knee and also a chest infection, and eventually withdrew from the race.

While it was expected that he would return for the Tour de France, he has not been listed for the upcoming Critérium du Dauphiné, which begins this weekend. The news that he may miss the Tour de France was revealed yesterday by the Daily Mail. Today, Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has confirmed that there are questions about his Tour participation.

“With these setbacks I can confirm that Brad cannot currently train properly and we are monitoring this situation carefully,” he told the Guardian.

The paper also states that the knee issue may be due to too much play in his pedal.

Wiggins dominated last year’s calendar, taking victories in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné prior to winning the Tour de France. He finished three minutes 21 seconds ahead of Froome, who looked stronger than him on some of the mountain stages but lost time against the clock.

Wiggins also went on to win the Olympic time trial, with Froome taking third.

While he 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.

Since then he has changed his position on several occasions. 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.”

This was echoed by Wiggins’ mentor and father figure Shane Sutton, who stated several days ago that he felt that Froome deserved leadership.

“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.”

Now there are questions about whether Wiggins will even be present at the race. That will be clarified closer to the event, which begins in Corsica on June 29th.


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