Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford says Chris Froome is likely to lead the British team at the Tour de France in 2013 and not defending champion Bradley Wiggins. Final race plans have not yet been confirmed but it's a theme which has been echoed since Wiggins rolled into Paris as the first British Tour de France winner.
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Wiggins will reportedly concentrate on securing his second grand tour victory at the Giro d'Italia before supporting Froome at the Tour next July. The call is further confirmation for Froome who demonstrated his arguably dominant climbing ability over Wiggins in the final week of this year's edition.
"The Tour of Italy would be a very good target for Bradley and leave Froomy then to focus on the Tour de France," Brailsford told BBC Sport before adding the team structure had not "completely been signed off."
Froome remained faithful to his captain Wiggins throughout the three-week race and finished second overall but later said he believed he could have won the Tour - despite losing 1:59 to Wiggins in time trials and ended the race 3:21 down on the overall race winner.
"I am still convinced that I could have won," Froome told L'Equipe. "But everything was clear within the team and I tried my best to do my job. I was not the chosen leader," he said.
Wiggins has expressed interest in riding the Giro d'Italia but has not ruled out also targeting the Tour de France again after a 2012 season that including victories at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné. Team Sky head coach Shane Sutton says the Briton should target the Giro and Vuelta a España if he is to become a cycling "legend".
"I think the legendary status for him could be enhanced by winning the three grand tours. I think he should target the tour of Italy and then the Vuelta," Sutton told Sportsbeat news agency in late September.