Dave Brailsford: “We are in a very good place, and hence the relaxed mood in the camp.”
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Friday, June 28, 2013

Dave Brailsford: “We are in a very good place, and hence the relaxed mood in the camp.”

by Ben Atkins at 11:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Sky principal feeling confident ahead of team’s bid for a second straight Tour victory

dave brailsfordSky Procycling principal Dave Brailsford declares himself, and his team, relaxed ahead of tomorrow’s Tour de France, which will see the British squad start as defending champions. Despite the absence of 2012 winner Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky still holds the outstanding favourite in Chris Froome, and so the race - in may ways - is his to lose.

Froome has enjoyed a similarly meteoric build up to the race as Wiggins did last year, as the Kenyan-born 28-year-old, matching his teammate’s 2012 victories in the Tour de Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné. Only in Tirreno-Adriatico has Froome tasted stage-race defeat, to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), and the Giro d’Italia winner will not be on the Bastia start line tomorrow.

“We've had a good run-in to the Tour this year,” Brailsford told Sky Sports News. “I don’t think we have left any stone unturned in terms of getting ready for the racing. We are in a very good place, and hence the relaxed mood in the camp.

“Chris is feeling confident,” he added. “The important thing on the eve of an event like this is for every rider to sit down and say, ‘Did we miss anything? Have we done everything possible? Are you the best that you can possibly be at this moment in time coming into this race?’

chris froome“And I think the answer from Chris and the team would be ‘yes’. That then gives them self-belief and their self-confidence systems are as a high as they can be, and that is a good place to be.”

Although Team Sky starts the race as last year’s winner, with Froome wearing race number one in lieu of the absent Wiggins, Brailsford doesn’t see the race as one of a title to defend.

“This year is definitely different. That is fair to say,” he admitted. "Last year we were all hoping, with Bradley, to win the Tour for the first time and we put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves to try to achieve that.

“Coming here this year, we haven’t come here to defend the title,” Brailsford explained. “As far as we are concerned, we have won it once and we want to win it for a second time, and we will do everything we can. That might be this year, it might be next year, it might be the year after, but we are here to win it for a second time.

“This whole negativity in terms of defending something is not something that we are entertaining. We are very much positive, it is an exciting opportunity, we have got a great team, and in that sense, it does feel different.”

As usual Team Sky is - outwardly at least - more interested in its own performances than those of others, but Brailsford obviously knows which riders to look out for.

"Chris' main rivals will be whoever time trials and climbs the best,” Brailsford said. “On form this year, there are a whole host of guys who can step up.

"There is a younger generation of rider who could step up and be competitive,” he added. “There are the usual suspects in [Alberto] Contador, [Alejandro] Valverde, [Joaquim] Rodríguez, who will be there or thereabouts.”

"In Team Sky, with Richie Porte and Chris Froome, we have got the two, potentially, best riders in the race and we are focused on what we can do to win this race and control what we can control."

With Froome and Porte in the form they showed at the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, there is the very real prospect of seeing a repeat of last year’s Team Sky one-two on the final Paris podium.

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