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Wiggins left out of Team Sky's Tour de France team

By:
Barry Ryan
Published:
June 06, 2014, 9:12 BST,
Updated:
June 06, 2014, 10:17 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 6, 2014
Race:
Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)

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"I will probably have to leave Team Sky" to ride the Tour again

Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that he will not be part of the Sky team for the Tour de France unless an injury befalls Chris Froome between now and the start of the race in Leeds on July 5.

“As it stands, I won’t be there, probably,” Wiggins said in a live interview on BBC television on Friday morning. “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.”

Wiggins has not raced with Froome all season and has not been selected for the Critérium du Dauphiné, where Sky will field a team that contains most of the riders expected to line up in the Tour next month. Wiggins won the Tour of California in May, but did not partake in the same altitude training camps and race reconnaissance as Froome and the core of the Tour team.

“As defending champion he has a say who’s around him and he’s had guys who go to all his build-up races and training camps throughout the year, his group of riders, and obviously I’ve been following a different path,” said Wiggins.

“We’ve been on different paths, and as it gets closer to the Tour, Dave Brailsford, the manager, decides who’s best-fitted to do that job. Myself and Chris haven’t race together all year.”

Wiggins will ride the Tour de Suisse instead of the Dauphiné, but regardless of how he performs there, he explained that he will not be at the Tour de France so long as Froome is fit and present.

“If he crashes there, there’d still be a chance I could come into the team,” Wiggins said. As it stands, all being well, Chris staying fit and healthy that’s the team that’ll roll out of Harrogate.

“Don’t get me wrong, I am gutted, I’ve worked extremely hard for this all winter. I feel I’m in the form I was two years ago at the 2012 Tour de France but I also understand that cycling is a team sport and at the end of the day it’s about the team winning. That team is Sky and Chris is the defending champion.”

Leaving Team Sky?

In an interview with L’Équipe published on Friday morning following his appearance at D-Day commemorations in Paris the previous day, Wiggins also noted that he would probably have to leave Team Sky in order to return to the Tour.

The Englishman’s contract expires at the end of the season and he has long stated that it was his intention to continue for two more years in order to finish his career by riding the team pursuit on the track at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

After being informed of his absence from the Dauphiné and Tour teams, Wiggins has been freed by Sky to race in the individual and team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, and hopes to line up at the Vuelta a España in August.

“I had planned to return to the track next winter but seeing as I’m not doing the Tour I can go back there immediately and that will give me all the answers I need for the Olympics, to let me know if I still have the level,” Wiggins said.

“So maybe I won’t need to do a season on the track this winter, I could concentrate on the road again. That would allow me to have a go at Roubaix again and then try to do the [2015] Tour in the role of a super domestique, like I wanted to do this year – ride on the Champs-Élysées with the yellow jersey behind me.

“But maybe that won’t be for Sky. For the moment, I’m considering all of my options, but as things stand, I still haven’t had an offer from Sky.”

Wiggins confirmed that Orica-GreenEdge is the only team to have spoken to him thus far, although he said that his conversation with Matt White did not constitute “real negotiations.”

“I think it’s pretty obvious that if I couldn’t do the Tour this year, then next year…. If I want to do the Tour, I’ll probably have to leave Sky,” Wiggins said.”

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