Brailsford: Wiggins and Cavendish must prioritise

Both men have spent the last few months insisting that they can compete effectively in both the Tour de France and the London 2012 Olympic Games and that neither event is more important than the other - but now it appears that orders from above will see Team GB and Team Sky colleagues Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish having to prioritise their training and their targets over the coming weeks and months.

The man charged with guiding the two British stars at professional and international level, David Brailsford, has stated that spreading yourself too thinly is a "recipe for failure" and that his riders must identify their main targets for the crucial month of July, which takes in both the Tour and the men's Olympic road race.

The Team Sky and Team GB supremo is arguably the most influential figure in British cycling, having masterminded Team GB's record medal haul at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and founding and developing Team Sky into a Pro Tour team feared by the rest of the peloton. The signing of Cavendish in the winter to line-up alongside Wiggins in Team Sky colours was a major coup and the team's start to the season has been a good one.

Wiggins underlined his credentials for a sustained challenge for yellow at this year's Tour by winning Paris-Nice earlier in this month, with bookmakers now making him second favourite behind 2011 winner Cadel Evans to make history and become Britain's first winner of cycling's flagship event.

World champion Cavendish has already secured several wins for his new team and has designs on retaining the green jersey he won at last year's Tour and also winning the Olympic road race. Brailsford, however, has dropped the strongest hint yet that going for the double could be counter-productive.

"We've got four big goals in close proximity and they all revolve around Mark and Bradley," Brailsford told BBC Sport. "So at this stage of the game you look at what their form is like and, like everything in life, you prioritise. I think just to say that you're going to give each one equal significance and try to win everything is probably the recipe for failure.

"What we really need to do is to look at them and say: 'If you could just have one, which one would you take?' You then build your chances around that. We're clear in our minds about our approach for this year and it will pan out as we get there.

"We have known for some time that Bradley is an exceptional rider He is building experience and belief and the performances are coming with that. We've come into the season with a clear game plan for Bradley and he's delivered every time. If you look at his record over the last year, it's pretty spectacular. So he's on track and there's more to come. We can look forward to July with real excitement."

Brailsford also had words of praise for Cavendish, despite his sub-standard performance at Milan-San Remo last weekend - a race that he admitted he really wanted to win in the rainbow jersey.

"That performance was a bit of a surprise and we don't often have surprises, particularly from Mark," Brailsford said. "He's a great champion and has got so much class but it didn't work out for him at the weekend and that's uncharacteristic. We're looking at all the numbers to see if we can put our finger on it. It could be illness, it could be latent fatigue. There are a whole host of things it could be. But you have to take your hat off to Mark Cavendish for all that he's achieved. If anyone has earned the right to a bad day it's him."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1