But RadioShack-Nissan boss can't see race leader cracking
Great Britain currently occupies the top two spots in the general classification at the 2012 Tour de France, with Bradley Wiggins just over two minutes ahead of his Team Sky colleague Chris Froome. And RadioShack-Nissan's Johan Bruyneel can't see anyone making a sustained or significant challenge to their dominance as the Tour enters its final week.
Bruyneel is currently on holiday with his family on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Normally he would be with his team at the Tour but he has kept a distance following his implication in the USADA/Lance Armstrong dpoing affair. Bruyneel was the sporting director of the US Postal team that guided Armstrong to unprecedented levels of success at the Tour de France and that success has now been called into question by the doping charges levelled at Armstrong, his doctors and other members of his team and staff.
"Will Bradley Wiggins crack in the Pyranees or will he not? Personally I can't see it happening. He has the strongest team," Bruyneel told Sportwereld.
"He has been very comfortable in yellow and the penultimate stage is a time trial. I expect the Englishman to be one-and-a-half or even two minutes faster than [Vincenzo] Nibali, [Jurgen] Van Den Broeck and [Cadel] Evans."
Bruyneel reserved some special praise for Froome, arguing that, if his team enabled him to be, he could be a real threat to Wiggins. But according to Bruyneel Froome knows his place and will not be allowed to challenge his more experience teammate.
"[Froome] is actually the most dangerous opponent," he said. "He is also fresher than Wiggins, who has been at the same level since Paris-Nice. Froome only started at this level at the Dauphine.
"He was also better than Wiggins at the Vuelta last year [Froome finished second overall and Wiggins third - ed.] and at that time he received many proposals from different teams. But he chose to sign a new big two-year contract to ride at the side of Wiggins. Since that day he knew that he would need to ride this Tour for Bradley. The situation that Sky find themselves in is extremely comfortable. If Wiggins cracks, there is Froome. But I can't see Bradley falling through the ice."