Team Sky's leadership at the 2013 Tour de France is far from certain according to this year's second-place overall Chris Froome. Those inside and outside of the team's confines have suggested this year's Tour champion Bradley Wiggins should focus on the Giro d'Italia however, his teammate Froome suggests Wiggins' programme is far from being finalised.
Froome has previously stated he would like to lead his British team at next year's Tour de France and would be "counting on the support of Wiggins" however, that is not to say the Tour and Olympic champion will not head to France with an eye on capturing a second title.
"I do not assume that Bradley will help me in the Tour," said Froome to Sporza. "It is not yet decided whether he will defend his title in France. He may aim at the Giro. If the goal of the team is for me to go for yellow, then I can count on the help of Bradley. I would like to get the green light to go for victory in the Tour. Even if I fail, and finish only fifth or sixth, I'll be happy as long as I am able give everything."
The Kenyan-born climber demonstrated his ability to lead a grand tour when he overtook his then captain on the road, Wiggins, at the 2011 Vuelta a España. Unfortunately for Froome, his loyalty to Wiggins arguably cost him the overall title. Froome finished second while Wiggins placed third.
At the Tour this year, it looked like Froome could have done the same again but team orders meant he remained by the side of the maillot jaune-wearing Wiggins. Froome says any divide between the two was purely media-driven. He does believe however, he could have won the Tour - despite losing nearly 2 minutes to the overall winner in time trials alone.
"The team and Bradley had asked that I would stay with him, so I did it," Froome explained in relation to his apparent acceleration on stage 17. "It was certainly no disrespect to Bradley. It had to do with the fact that we as a team were monitored from start to finish. The people wanted to drive a wedge between us but it was just a game by the media."
"I've brought everything up with the team and I would like the Tour to be my main goal for 2013," added Froome. "It's a route that I can believe is suitable to me. The focus is less on time trials which still remain important but the stages in the mountains are harder than the this year. I now want to prepare for the Tour, start in perfect condition and then go for yellow. It is however, a balanced circuit and one that will be difficult to win."