Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins could ride 2014 Tour together, says Team Sky coach
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins could ride 2014 Tour together, says Team Sky coach

by Ben Atkins at 6:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Race’s two British winners could put personal enmity aside; Yorkshire start could be key

chris froome,bradley wigginsRod Ellingworth, Team Sky’s performance manager, feels that Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins could put their personal enmity aside and line up side by side at the Tour de France next year, he told the Guardian. The two British Tour winners, while never showing active hostility towards one another, have never shared any personal chemistry, thanks in part to Froome’s personal ambitions being quashed by the British team’s “all-for-Wiggins” strategy at the 2012 race.

Many felt that Froome was the stronger of the two British riders that year, or should at least have been given the opportunity to take his own chances more. He returned to win the race this year, while Wiggins’ own imploded after crashes and injuries at the Giro d’Italia.

Ellingworth feels that they can put all this behind them, however, as he seeks to build the right team to try for Team Sky’s third straight victory in the race.

chris froome"Of course it can happen. They can ride together," he said. "It's too early to say at the moment as we are in the middle of our review period, but we need to put the nine best guys on the line. No one has a right of passage because of their past or because we like them. You would think that Brad in top form, Chris, Peter Kennaugh, Richie Porte and Sergio Henao would be a core group of top climbers.

"We are going to take our time and think hard about what is ahead of us," Ellingworth added. "We will need to look at what might get in our way in next year's Tour – how much influence that cobbled stage will have, plus a couple of other days when there might be crosswinds. Climbing and time-trialling are about fitness, and our lads are as fit as anybody, but there are challenges like the start in the UK and the distractions that will bring, the transfer to France, the cobbles.

" Vincenzo Nibali [Astana] will be the key rider,” Ellingworth opined. “He's a great competitor and can race over anything. For sure he can race over the cobbles because he's a bloody good bike racer. He'll put it in wherever he can. The other teams will try to expose us in every way they can."

Ellingworth’s thoughts were echoed by Froome, as he spoke to the Guardian after the Tour’s route presentation in Paris yesterday.

bradley wiggins"At the end of the day, the team's always going to select the nine strongest guys to go to the Tour with the best possible chance of winning it,” he said. “If Bradley's in that nine or not would be for the performance team to decide, but I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be there."

What might sway Wiggins’ decision to aim for a place in Sky’s Tour team could be the three days that the race will spend in the UK. Despite being born in Belgium, and raised in London, Wiggins now makes his home near to Manchester, in the north of England. Although he lives on the opposite side of the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, his home is just a short hop across the Pennines to the Tour’s start city, Leeds.

This will surely be motivation to him to want to ride, as it is for all of Sky’s British riders.

"There is extra motivation for all the British riders with the start in Yorkshire, so you'd think that Brad, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and the other British lads would all want to ride the Tour," Ellingworth said. "But I'd like to think all the riders in our team are capable of getting in the Tour, and no one rider is bigger than the team."

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