Tour de France 2013: Blow for Bradley Wiggins as Chris Froome is named as Team Sky leader

Champion's double hopes hit as Brailsford is moved to end debate by declaring support for younger man

Dave Brailsford has given his unequivocal backing to Chris Froome as Team Sky's leader for this summer's Tour de France and in so doing dealt a significant blow to Bradley Wiggins' hopes of mounting a successful repetition of his historic victory last year.

Wiggins declared last week he wanted the double – to win the Giro d'Italia and retain his Tour title – but Brailsford, Sky's principal and Wiggins' boss, sought to draw a line under a debate that threatened to accompany the team all the way to the Tour start line in Corsica next month, declaring Froome would be the team's sole leader.

Sky's season has been built around Froome targeting the Tour while Wiggins pursues the Giro – he ended Monday's third stage in second place – but the 33-year-old's desire to win both has seemingly intensified over recent weeks, causing increased focus on the cool relationship between the two and their status within the team.

Last week Wiggins said he did not expect a final decision to be made until days before the Tour. Froome, who is not racing in the Giro, responded with a statement saying he expected to lead and had been told so by the team management – a standing underlined by Brailsford.

"As always the team selection is a management decision and it will be evidence-based," said Brailsford. "However, it is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader. Taking that into consideration and given Chris's step up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January, is to have him lead the Tour de France team. Our final selection of nine won't be confirmed until after the Dauphiné." That French race finishes on 9 June.

It does not end Wiggins' hopes of the double – depending on how the Giro unfolds, he is still expected to be part of the Tour line-up – but it makes it significantly less likely as the team's focus will be on Froome, so long as the 27-year-old is judged capable of victory. It is a sport, though, in which circumstances can quickly change.

Brailsford that the issue had not become a distraction. Monday's solid, contained ride by Wiggins in the Giro followed Sunday's impressive victory in the team time trial. "Everyone here is 100 per cent focused on this race and the next three weeks," Brailsford said.

Froome is continuing his preparations for the Tour – on Friday he rode stage 15, the daunting and crucial Mount Ventoux climb – which begins on 29 June.

This season Froome has won the Tour of Oman, Critérium International and Tour de Romandie in an impressive run that has mirrored Wiggins' build-up, and form, of last year.

"We're in a fantastic position – we have two of the best [general classification] riders in the world, both great racers with a competitive will to win," said Brailsford. "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's has been focused on attempting to win the Tour."

Before leaving for Italy last week, Wiggins gave his most candid, if occasionally contradictory, statement of intent. Wiggins said it had always been his intention to go for victory in both the Giro and the Tour and that he was prepared, to all intents and purposes, to settle the leadership on the road over the course of the opening stages of the Tour.

Wiggins also acknowledged he would accept the team's decision – and has always accepted that Froome is the likeliest leader – but said it would not leave him in a domestique role.

Wiggins said last week: "It may be that Chris is the leader but that doesn't mean I am going to sit on the front for 200km and lose half an hour." He added: "We both want to win the race and are both incredibly competitive. That's the main thing really."

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicHunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original  manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... while following the referendum
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week