Bradley Wiggins has admitted that it was difficult for him to watch Chris Froome win this year's Tour de France, saying that instead he tried "to focus on positives, really, rather than sitting depressed in front of the TV."
Wiggins spoke after making a low-key return to racing at the Tour of Poland, more than two months after puling out of the Giro d'Italia due to injury and illness. He missed Friday's team presentation and finished nine-minutes down on stage one to Madonna di Campiglio in Italy, along aside Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
Wiggins said in June that he may never again target overall success in the Tour de France but admitted he missed not riding this year's race as defending champion. He was not selected for the Team Sky Tour de France line-up due to his knee injury.
“I didn’t watch it – I couldn’t watch it,” Wiggins said of the Tour de France after the stage.
“I would have loved to have been there and would have found it very difficult to watch. I’ve just been trying to focus on positives, really, rather than sitting depressed in front of the TV. I only watched the first stage, as I heard the bus had knocked the finish line down. I followed it from afar but it was too painful to watch.”
Chris’s performance was dominant
Wiggins has not been in direct contact with Chris Froome to congratulate him on his victory but praised his teammate despite their often tense relationship, highlighting how this year's Tour route suited Froome perfectly.
“Chris’s performance was dominant – it was a brilliant team performance and brilliant individual performances so they deserved everything they got,” Wiggins said.
“He is probably the best climber in the world at the moment. I have never been that good a climber – I can climb but my specialty has always been the time trial. For sure, if the Tour [in 2014] is like it was this year, Chris is the stronger rider.”
He also sided with Froome after he faced numerous doping questions and suspicion about his performance but said questions were inevitable.
“Unfortunately, whoever wins the Tour is going to face those questions, and when you have been as dominant as Chris was in winning that Tour, it was inevitable,” Wiggins said
“I had to answer those questions last year and whoever wins in the next 10 or 20 years there will always be those questions.”
Wiggins has reportedly been training hard in Mallorca in recent weeks but is targeting the time trial world championships in Tuscany in late September. He confirmed he will not ride the Vuelta Espana but is expected to lead Team Sky at the Tour of Britain.
"That is the obvious one, then working back, but at the moment it is small steps and not thinking too far ahead," he said of his shot at a rainbow jersey.