Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has named Chris Froome as the team's leader for the Tour de France, confirming that the plan for the 2013 season is that the Kenyan-born Briton, and not 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, will lead the British team at the Tour de France.
Before heading to the Giro d'Italia, Wiggins insisted that he was ready to target the Giro-Tour, suggesting any decision about leadership would be made just before or even during the Tour de France by team management.
That angered Froome with the Kenyan-born Briton quickly issuing a personal statement claiming that he was to be the leader in July and that he had the full backing of the team.
In what seems like a move to diffuse speculation and avoid a possible damaging internal power struggle, Brailsford has named Froome as team leader, while also trying to appease Wiggins' ambitions.
“As always the team selection is a management decision and it will be evidence-based. However it is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader," Brailsford said in a statement published on the Team Sky website.
“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."
“With over seven weeks until the Tour and the Giro to focus on, our final selection of nine won’t be confirmed until after the Dauphine."
100% focused on the Giro d'Italia
Froome is currently studying the Tour de France mountain stages and rode Mont Ventoux on Friday. Wiggins is in action at the Giro d'Italia and is lying second overall behind young teammate Salvatore Puccio after Team Sky dominated Sunday's team time trial.
Brailsford is in Italy with the team and insisted that Wiggins is aiming to win the Giro d'Italia before turning his thoughts to the Tour de France.
“Everyone here is 100-per-cent focused on this race and the next three weeks,” he said.
“We're in a fantastic position - we have two of the best GC riders in the world and they are both great racers with a competitive will to win.”
“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’ has been focused on attempting to win the Tour."
“Now we're here - the Giro has started and Bradley has done a brilliant job of getting in the best-possible condition for his assault on the race.”