Tour de France: Manxman linked to Sky as poor debut forces rethink

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The Independent Online

Prior to their first ever Tour de France, the Team Sky principal, Dave Brailsford, argued that rather than gun for a particular result, the "only aim is to do as well as possible, whether it's third or 10th in Paris we'll have to settle for that. Bradley [Wiggins] can only do his best, and that might be good enough to win the Tour."

However, rather than improve on Wiggins' fourth place of 2009 – as his controversial transfer to Sky from Garmin was supposed to achieve – the Briton has fallen away.

It will have escaped no one's attention that Garmin – for the third year running – have enjoyed having a surprise top 10 finisher, this time with Ryder Hesjedaal of Canada in seventh. Sky, on the other hand, have not made in any way as big an impact as expected.

Wiggins' underperformance is not something he can be criticised for, given how notoriously tricky it is to hit the right form physically each and every July. Nor could much more be expected from a team specifically designed to support their team leader in an all-out bid for yellow.

However, such a consistent but ultimately low-profile performance from Sky has increased the calls for a different approach to cycling's top event, and there are already signs that Sky are replanning their 2011 Tour campaign.

While Wiggins will again lead the team charge, there are persistent rumours that they could sign Mark Cavendish, even though the sprinter is under contract until 2011 with HTC-Columbia. The chances of the Manxman leaving HTC-Columbia, where he has always said he is happy, seem small but, after Wiggins prematurely ended his contract with Garmin-Transitions to go to Sky, it would be unwise to rule it out completely.