Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Friday morning, Wiggins said that Sky’s Tour team is centred around 2013 Tour champion Chris Froome and that he would not be part of the roster ‘as things stand’.
>> Get an extra 5% off the discounted price of a magazine subscription this weekend with the code SPOOKY5. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
“The team is focused around Chris Froome,” said Wiggins. “I am gutted. I’ve worked extremely hard for this throughout the winter and up to the summer. I feel I am in the form I was two years ago.
“But I also understand that cycling is a team sport and it is all about Team Sky winning and Chris is defending champion.”
Despite winning the 2012 Tour, Wiggins did not participate in last year’s race due to injury. Froome took up leadership duties for Sky, and duly won. The relationship between Wiggins and Froome has often been rocky, and the two have not raced together this year, or taken part in any pre-Tour training together.
Froome’s new book, The Climb, does not pull any punches in relation to the two riders’ falling out during the 2012 Tour, which will not do anything to quell any animosity.
Froome will start the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday as part of his Tour build-up, and Wiggins will lead Sky at the Tour de Suisse over June 14-22. Both riders have been on good form in the past month, with Wiggins winning the Tour of California in May and Froome taking the overall victory in the Tour de Romandie.
Wiggins non-participation in the Tour will deny spectators the once-in-a-lifetime chance of seeing two British Tour de France champions starting in the race on home turf – a decision which will not be popular with fans.
Wiggins’ contract with Sky ends this season, and it remains to be seen whether he will renew with the team or move to another squad. He has also previously said that he wishes to return to the track for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.