Sky principal backs Froome over Wiggins

Kenyan-born rider, not defending champion, to lead team in Tour de France, says Brailsford

Bradley Wiggins (left) will be succeeded by Chris Froome right as Team Sky leader for the Tour de France. Photograph: Getty Images

Bradley Wiggins (left) will be succeeded by Chris Froome right as Team Sky leader for the Tour de France. Photograph: Getty Images

Mon, May 6, 2013, 14:34

Chris Froome will lead Team Sky’s charge at this year’s Tour de France, team principal Dave Brailsford reiterated today.

Froome played a vital role in helping Bradley Wiggins claim victory in the 2012 Tour, finishing second overall himself but Team Sky stated back in January that the 2013 campaign would be built around Froome, with Wiggins in support.

Wiggins’s main stated aim of 2013 was overall victory in the Giro d’Italia, which got under way on Saturday, and Brailsford said the strategy set out at the start of the year remains in place.

“As always the team selection is a management decision and it will be evidence-based,” he told www.teamsky.com. “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’ step up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January is to have him lead the Tour de France team.”

Late last month, Wiggins hinted he might target a Giro and Tour double.

“As the years have gone on I’ve thought that maybe I’m capable of this now,” said the Olympic champion. “Two years ago I never would have even imagined trying to win the Giro because it was always about trying to win the Tour or trying to get on the podium at the Tour.

“It’s just seeing what you’re capable of doing with each year that goes past. It’s just an exploration of what you can do each year.”

Suggestions the whole controversy was a publicity stunt were dismissed by Froome’s girlfriend on Twitter recently when she called on Sky to end the doubt.

Michelle Cound, who had a Twitter spat with Wiggins’s wife Cath during last year’s Tour, wrote: “To those claiming that this Wiggins/Froome thing is some sort of publicity stunt, you are wrong. I look forward to @TeamSky clearing up this mess (ASAP) #fedup.”