Although Froome’s place on Sky’s Tour de France roster is a given, there is still some doubt over Wiggins’ selection for the nine-man line-up.
Froome will be in action first, lining up to defend his Criterium du Dauphine title in France from Sunday (June 8). Froome has already had a busy week, riding the routes of the opening two stages of the Tour in Yorkshire before riding the cobbled sections of stage five in France.
Froome is joined in the Dauphine by Richie Porte, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate, Geraint Thomas and Xabier Zandio. Porte, Lopez and Nieve accompanied Froome on their recce of the Yorkshire stages, with Thomas joining them on the cobbles after winning Bayern-Rundfahrt on Sunday, indicating that their place on Sky’s Tour squad is almost a certainty.
Wiggins’ Sky line-up for the Tour de Suisse (June 14-22) comprises Dario Cataldo, Philip Deignan, Jow Dombrowski, Peter Kennaugh, Christian Knees, Luke Rowe and Ben Swift. It’s a mixture of riders from Sky’s Tour of California and Giro d’Italia line-ups, with Kennaugh returning after skipping the Giro due to illness.
“Bradley heads to Switzerland with a strong team after a great win in [Tour of] California and we’ve got the right group for the Dauphine, especially considering the nature of the course,” said Team Sky principal David Brailsford.
Brailsford remains tight-lipped about his selection for Sky’s Tour de France squad, saying: “Both of these races will form part of our selection for the Tour. We have to name 13 riders in a long list during June and we’ll do that from across the squad, including riders at the Route du Sud, not only those in the Dauphine and Tour de Suisse groups.”
Wiggins has said that he would support Froome if he were selected for Sky’s Tour line up. However, questions remain about the level of animosity between the two riders, particularly in the wake of Froome’s new book, The Climb, which appears to pull no punches regarding their fall-out during and after the 2012 Tour.
It falls in the hands of Brailsford to decide whether the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of two British Tour de France champions starting the race on home soil will become a reality. Many fans would be sorely disappointed to be denied this sight on July 5.