Sky’s Chris Froome is still aiming to win next year’s Tour de France despite Bradley Wiggins’ comments that he wants to defend his 2012 title. Wiggins said on Sunday that he wants to try to win the Giro d’Italia-Tour double.

“The team are saying they are going to back me with the Tour this [next] year. That’s directly from Dave. He [Brailsford] said: ‘You’re our man for the Tour. Focus on it,” Froome told the Times newspaper today.

“It’s my hope and intention to be the Team Sky team leader at next year’s Tour de France. I feel I have shown in my last three grand tour rides that I would definitely be a contender to win the 2013 Tour de France and the route plays to my strengths. That is my target.”

The 100th edition of the Tour de France starts in Corsica and leans heavily on the mountains, going up the famed Alpe d’Huez twice in one day.

This year’s Tour featured just over 100 kilometres of time trials with the short prologue and two long, 50km tests. Wiggins gained his lead over Froome in the time trials, finishing in Paris with 3-21 minutes over Froome and 6-19 minutes over Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Wiggins plans for 2013 have ranged from Giro to Tour, to both. Winning both would put Wiggins in an exclusive club with only others. Marco Pantani last won the double in 1998, perhaps benefiting from a Tour peloton reduced by the Festina Affair. Experts say the double is nearly impossible as the body demands preparation and recovery time after racing flat-out for three weeks.

Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), cycling’s current top Grand Tour rider, won the Giro in 2011 but suffered when he attempted the Tour just one month later. Regardless, officials later stripped the results for his 2010 doping offence.

“I’ve always wanted to win a second Tour. I’m the defending champion. I want to try and win the Giro d’Italia and win the Tour de France behind it,” Wiggins said, according to the Guardian, after accepting his BBC Sports Personality of Year trophy.

“People say it can’t be done, winning two tours. So let’s have a go at it.”

The cyclists who have done the Giro-Tour double: Fausto Coppi (1949, 1952), Jacques Anquetil (1964), Eddy Merckx (1970, 1972, 1974), Bernard Hinault (1982, 1985), Stephen Roche (1987), Miguel Indurain (1992, 1993) and Marco Pantani (1998).

“I’m not at all distracted or upset by all the speculation about what Brad might want to do,” Froome continued.

“It’s only natural that people will be asking questions of the reigning champion. What is for sure is that it will put us in a much stronger position going into the Tour if we have a plan ‘A’ and ‘B’, if we have two hands to play, not one.”

Related links

Chris Froome: Rider profile

  • Pee Bee

    What is “silly” about good sportsmanship and, in this instance, defending last year’s title? Wiggo, after a certain initial scepticism amongst French journalists and the public, gained the title of “Gentleman Wiggins” on French TV last summer and has become a high profile icon for cycling here in France too as in Britain and, as such, he is both culturally and commercially valuable to Team Sky and to British cycling in Europe. Good sportsmanship does not involve picking and choosing events, and a truly great champion is surely measured by success regardless of whether or not a given course favours their strengths and Team sky would not be painting a good image of Britain if they disregard this. Are we really to believe that great tour winners of the past allowed this kind of thinking to interfere with their determination to win? I don’t think so. The course maketh the man and Wiggins has shown in recent years that he can adapt and develop in surprising ways. As for cycling being a business, this is also an issue which is a particular problem with Team Sky and it made the team less than popular in Europe when it was first formed partly for this reason. Clearly sponsors require a good return on their investment, and rightly so, but that does not mean that the team has to bow to corporate influence in terms of sporting decisions. However, if the business argument must prevail, there can be no finer business plan than for Bradley Wiggins to defend his title. It will sell big time and metaphoric and real cash registers will ring loudly because Wiggo is iconic both here in France and Britain.

  • Bows

    All the comments I’ve read about Wiggo has to be back to defend his title are just a little silly.

    This years route suited him with TT’s and no killer climbing days oh and Contador and Schleck were not in the race and only Froome could have tested him on climbs.

    Next year has far fewer TT Km’s and way more killer climbing days. Its simply not one that suits Wiggins.

    So with SKY’s target to win races what sense is there in them backing a horse that can’t handle the course? Its a business in the end.

  • jack arnold

    Two leaders is allways a disaster. SKY should stick with Wiggins .

  • Ken Evans

    We will see who has the best form in July, it is a bit early to be making bold statements, or hard and fast plans.

  • Pee Bee

    Yes and the right thing is for Wiggo to defend his TDF title. The French quite rightly expect nothing less. Team Sky needs to realise this, for having gained respect in Europe, Team Sky needs to keep it. Are we seeing here one of the self-inflicted problems of Team Sky trying to create a national team in a Pro-Tour environment, when British riders would be better served spread evenly amongst a variety of different teams where they would be able to realise their ambitions without having to wait in turn for the opportunity or resort to infighting?

  • gg/gg

    Seems a little “head in the clouds” by Wiggins; if you look at the list of double winners they are nearly all in one of the “IFFY” periods of cycling.
    Froome is a better climber than Wiggins and not far behind in the TT’s and the 2013 Tour de France is tougher; come on SKY do the right thing

  • Oliver

    I only saw the highlights on the BBC website, but poor old Froomey looked a bit stony-faced when Brad was lapping up the attention on stage…