Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has tried to calm the debate and polemics about Bradley Wiggins not riding this year's Tour de France by suggesting that the team has not yet been finalised and that he, and not Chris Froome, decides who is selected for the nine-rider line-up.
Wiggins vented his frustration in interviews with L'Equipe and the BBC, revealing that he currently does not have a contract offer from Team Sky for 2015.
“As it stands, I won’t be there, probably,” Wiggins said “The team is focused around Chris Froome, the defending champion who’s got a great chance of winning his second Tour and it’s decided that they’ll base the team around him, so unfortunately I won’t be there.”
Brailsford stayed silent after Wiggins' announcement on Friday and opted to give his diplomatic reply to David Walsh and the Sunday Times newspaper.
“Despite the impression that might have been created, the team for the Tour is not yet finalised. I will be the one making the decision on who is in that team. I speak with our performance team, the riders can offer an opinion but they don’t select the team and they never will,” Brailsford said.
Brailsford refused to specifically say if Wiggins was wrong to say he will not ride the Tour de France, preferring to speak about the need for team harmony.
“We knew from last year that my job was to build a team around Chris Froome because he’s the rider most likely to win this year’s Tour de France,” Brailsford said.
“In building that team, I have to take the group dynamic into consideration. Trust and harmony are important considerations and it’s a difficult decision. I’m not just talking about the harmony between Chris and Brad but harmony amongst all the riders and staff. People should be careful before thinking Chris is making decisions here. Chris is a great bike rider, he deserves to lead our team but ultimately he doesn’t pick the team. I do.”
Brailsford hinted that any final decision about the final nine riders for the Tour de France would only be made after the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse.
“We have two world-class races this month, the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, Chris is in one, Brad’s in the other,” Brailsford said. “Let’s see how they come out of those races because they will show us where we are.”