Tour de France: 'I'll help Froome win it one day – but not this year,' says Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins has predicted that his team-mate Chris Froome will win the Tour de France – but not this year – and that the Londoner will be back in the race to help Froome do that.
Speaking on yesterday's rest day, Wiggins said: "The guy is capable of winning the Tour, otherwise he wouldn't be second overall. He'll win this race one day and I'll be there to support him. People will try to make more of a story than it is, but we've proved on the road that there isn't a problem. What we do well is that we're a close group and that's why we are in this position now."
Wiggins and his Sky team-mates face a tough two days in the Pyrenees, and they can ill-afford the hints of splits in the ranks which came after the Toussuire ascent in the Alps where Froome made an unscripted attack that left Wiggins briefly reeling.
Froome has insisted ever since that he will follow team orders, and that he is confident Wiggins will – as the Londoner said yesterday – return the favour of his working selflessly for his team leader. But not this year.
Wiggins insists that he is not over-reacting to the situation of being under constant scrutiny and high pressure as he might have done in the past.
"You can't get so drawn into this that you end up thinking it's a life-or-death situation," Wiggins said. "It used to be like that on the track a few years ago, when I was in the Olympic finals, [thinking] what's going to happen to me, [if I lose] they're going to send me to the gallows. As you get older, your kids get older and they're not bothered about those things and it's that which helps you handle these situations better."
Today's 197-kilometre stage features the Tour's best-known Pyrenean climbs – the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde. There is no summit finish – that is a treat in store for the riders tomorrow – but the relentless saw-toothed edge of four major climbs, plus the arrival of searingly hot weather, could quickly show up any weaknesses.
Vincenzo Nibali, also known as "the Shark of Messina", has been the most dangerous of Wiggins's rivals so far. Assuming Froome toes the party line – and there has been no sign since last week's briefest of digs on the Toussuire that this is not the case – the Sicilian, who is currently 2 min and 23 sec back, is still within striking distance of the yellow jersey.
"Having the last time trial [on Saturday] is a bonus, Bradley can maybe take time back there, but there's no doubt we're feeling the pressure and anything can happen still," said Wiggins's team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen. "The race isn't over yet."
"If everybody waits until the last climb, Wiggins will win the Tour," French climbing star Richard Virenque predicted in yesterday's Le Figaro. It could blow apart, though, if the other contenders attack early on. And Froome could benefit from that."
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Latest in Sport
Arsenal can surprise Bayern Munich in the Champions League, says former midfielder Gilberto Silva
Liverpool can win the Premier League title says Michael Owen - but Arsenal and 'inconsistent' Mesut Ozil can't
Liverpool - January transfer targets
Transfer news: Liverpool - January transfer targets
Transfer news: Arsenal - Transfer targets for January
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
£25000 - £32000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Business Analyst - Banking...
£21999 - £27001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have exten...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
£42000 - £51000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Are You Receiving...