Brailsford: Sky on the front for Cav and Wiggins

David Brailsford, Sky, Tour de France 2011 press conference

After limiting Mark Cavendish's support to just two riders for the last two flat sprint stages

in the 2012 Tour de France

, Team Sky put pretty much the whole team to the front for the run-in to today's finish in Saint Quentin.

Cavendish ended up on the floor on yesterday's run-in to Rouen but was in a fit enough state to contest today's gallop.

But according to team principle Dave Brailsford, Sky's move to the front in the stage's closing miles was as much about protecting Bradley Wiggins from chaos in the bunch charge as offering Cavendish more support for the gallop.

"From Bradley's point of view we're getting closer to the mountains and -there's today and tomorrow left-so we're like ‘OK guys it's time to commit to the front of this race'," he said. "That's what we did from about 30km out. We said we're going to really try and ride hard at the front to protect Mark plus protect Bradley."

As the finish approached, Wiggins himself took a pull on the front of the bunch. Brailsford dismissed any suggestion that this could be wasting energy ahead of the mountains.

"The key thing is we know the safest place to be is at the front of the bunch. For Brad to do 500m at the front doesn't take much out of him. It was sensible thing to do and the safe thing to do.

"If he was at home training for the mountains this Saturday he'd be doing a harder effort than that, that's for sure. He'll recover and it won't affect him."

Cavendish eventually finished fifth behind Andre Greipel who claimed his second stage win in a row. Nonetheless, Brailsford described the Team Sky ride as ‘a super performance'. This followed some suggestion of discontent among Wiggins' helpers yesterday.

"We had a good chat this morning as a group and we really want to pull together as a group and say let's commit to this with a bit more intent," said Brailsford. "Sometimes you think you can just get through it and hover but that can make you a bit lethargic.

"If everybody's got a bit more responsibility and a bit of a job, there's a bit more intent and purpose and that's what we demonstrated today."

Brailsford praised Cavendish's "guts and determination to get back up and put himself in the mix" after yesterday's crash.

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Cavendish and Eisel expected to continue after stage four crash

Injury report: Tour stage four

Garmin-Sharp adjust Tour de France plans after injury problems

Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash

Kittel recovering from illness

Explaining the three kilometre rule

Sky's embarrassment of riches

Rogers back on form and backing Wiggins in the Tour

Martin to continue in Tour despite fractured wrist

Liquigas coach tips Sagan for future Grand Tour win

Cancellara's win lifts morale in RadioShack team

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials

CW's Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

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

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1