Chris Froome said that he had nothing to do with Bradley Wiggins’ exclusion from Sky’s nine-man team for the Tour de France. The race starts Saturday in Leeds, but for the second year in a row the 2012 winner will not be racing.
“I just want to make it absolutely clear I do not have a role in selection,” Froome said at the team’s hotel in Harrogate yesterday.
“I speak to [Team Principal] Dave Brailsford generally about the group of guys I’ve been racing with, but if you look at how the Tour team is selected, the guys doing the Tour are also already doing altitude camps together quite early in the season and racing as a group.”
Wiggins and Froome’s relationship disintegrated in the public’s view during the 2012 Tour de France. Since then, they have rarely raced together. The last time was in a wet and dreary Tuscany at the 2013 World Championship road race, where Great Britain failed to produce one finisher.
Instead, Wiggins has ridden a different path this season that included the classics, the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse. Not once did he travel to Tenerife off Africa’s west coast to train at altitude with the rest of team Sky.
He proved himself, however, by racing to ninth place in Paris-Roubaix, winning the Tour of California and taking the British time trial title. The only hiccup was his crash in the Tour de Suisse. Some, though, considered taking Froome and Wiggins to the Tour together in the same team too risky.
“It would definitely change the dynamic of the team with Bradley on the team,” Froome said. “That’s bike racing, though. You’re not always going to be best friends with everyone on the team all the time.”
Wiggins indicated that he may race more on the track towards the 2016 Rio Olympics, starting with the Commonwealth Games at the end of this month, and that he may leave team Sky at the end of this season.
Wiggins told the BBC on June 6, “It’s already clear that if I wasn’t selected this year, then next year, if I want to ride in the Tour I will probably have to leave Sky.”
Froome will lead Sky’s charge for a second year in a row and try to defend his 2013 title. Bernhard Eisel, Vasil Kiryienka, David López, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas and Xabier Zandio will support Froome.
“The team I’ve got around me,” said Froome, “is probably the strongest Team Sky has fielded at the Tour de France and we are ready for this.”
We asked you what you thought about Sir Bradley Wiggins' absence from Team Sky's 2014 Tour de France roster
Defending champion Chris Froome leads Team Sky at the 2014 Tour de France
British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton says they'd welcome him on the track as part of England's Commonwealth Games team