Cycling: Confusion over whether Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome will lead Team Sky at Tour de France
Wiggins has stated he will accept whatever Team Sky decides over who will lead the team
Sports Personality of the Year Bradley Wiggins has stated he will accept whatever Team Sky decides over who will lead the team during next year's Tour de France.
There has been mixed messages over whether the reigning champion will defend his title, or Chris Froome, who finished second on this year's Tour, will lead the charge.
The mountainous route appears to play into the hands of Froome, the 27-year-old rider who was a key team member in making Wiggins the first Briton to win the Tour.
Speaking to today's Times, Froome appears to believe he will lead the team in 2013: "The team are saying they are going to back me with the Tour this year. That's directly from Dave (Brailsford). He said: 'You're our man for the Tour. Focus on it."'
However, Brailsford has been more equivocal over the issue in recent days, and Wiggins does not expect to discover if he will be given the nod by Team Sky's director to go for a second yellow jersey until as little as two days before the Tour begins.
"I always wanted to win a second Tour," Wiggins said. "I want to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France behind it. It's a new challenge. People said it can't be done, winning two tours in one year – so let's have a go. We have got an incredible team. Chris can also win it. We will see who is in the best shape come July. Dave will make decision who we go for, it may be Chris, it may be me. Whoever it is we have a professional obligation [to follow instructions]. It is a great position to be in."
Speaking to Sky Sports, Wiggins added: "The last four years, all the focus has been on the Tour de France for me, trying to win that race. Fortunately I did it this year, then it's deciding what to do next.
"The Tour of Italy is something I'd love to win, in cycling terms it's just as big as the Tour for me, but also going back as defending champion next year to try to win a second Tour de France.
"We're very fortunate that we have two people that can win the Tour de France. Having two people equally as strong, trying to beat the likes of (Alberto) Contador and Andy Schleck, is going to work in our favour.
"It could be any one of us, it could be Chris Froome on the day, it could be me, but once we get on that line we all have a professional obligation. We saw this year what Chris did for me, it could be that I'll be doing that for him next year for the team to win."
Whatever decision is made, Wiggins expects Team Sky to have a clear plan.
"You go out there with a plan," he said. "That plan may change during the race depending on crashes, illnesses or form, but you certainly start out with a gameplan and follow that gameplan as much as possible.
"If that's Chris Froome then the whole eight riders will commit to Chris.
"But we saw a couple of years ago, once I crashed out the team was left without anything to do, really, because all our eggs were put into the basket of me.
"This year, had I crashed out in that first week, we always had a back-up plan with Chris Froome. It always helps to have strength in numbers, it's a nice problem to have.
"So much is made of the negative aspects of having two leaders who could potentially win, but very little has been said about the positive side. We finished one and two this year, so it's always a nice problem to have."
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