Standing next to team soigneurs handing out bidons after stage three of the Giro d'Italia, Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford stated categorically that the squad’s statement that Froome would lead the Tour de France represented zero change to the team’s initial plan for 2013.
“Go back and read our press releases in February, March, April, it all says the same thing,” Brailsford told a small group of reporters.
Asked why they had then bothered to put out a new release reconfirming that Froome would be leading, not Wiggins, Brailsford replied “there was a lot of talk and chatter and whatnot, so I thought we should reiterate our plan.”
He said it had nothing to do with Wiggins hints that he was contemplating a Giro-Tour double bid, saying instead “not really, no. There was a lot of chatter. We’re sticking to the same plan, I think it’s worth reclarifying that we’re still on track - and nicely so, I’d say.”
“The key thing for us is to focus on this race” - the Giro - “and it requires a lot of focus, it’s requires a lot of that.”
“As far as we’re concerned the plan is still going, we’re right on track. We’re sticking to what we’re doing. If you read Brad’s comments you’ll see he knew that everything is caveated by a management decision.”
Reflecting on the loss of the pink jersey and the late attacks that caused that, Brailsford said “That descent was made for attacks, there’s more opportunities to be opportunistic in the Giro, it’s that sort of race. That’s what people were trying to do, it takes as much energy to ride on the front as it does on the back and it was great to see some real good bike racing.”
“Dario [Cataldo] was ill last night he was up all night with an upset stomach so he just wanted to get to the finish. But the other guys were on form, it was great to get the jersey, but it wasn’t planned. It was fantastic for him, but let’s get on with the business ahead now.”
Wiggins arrived second last of the Sky riders at the team bus, received instructions on how to ride to the team hotel and then headed off on his bike again past reporters before questions could be asked.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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